Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Publication of the Novel Titled 'WAKE OF THE RAINBOW WARRIOR' By TROOPER Author of the HAWKSPURR Action Adventure Series!

(For Additional Information on Other Titles in the Series click here!)

Hello Friends!
I am pleased to say that TROOPER the Author of the HAWKSPURR Action Adventure Series has given me the 'red' light to publish one of his earliest novel written titled 'WAKE OF THE RAINBOW WARRIOR' for your entertainment and reading pleasure, with our compliments! I understand it may not appeal to everyone, but I am sure this particular story will prove to be a very prolific and exciting journey into a world of military adventure, covert intelligence intrigue and suspense, interspersed by the appropriate segments of love and romance to soften the impact of their otherwise somewhat more violent nature of contents. WAKE OF THE RAINBOW WARRIOR (Another Nyles Hawkspurr Adventure)

By *TROOPER* © 1994, 2002, by Trooper. All rights reserved ISBN 0-473-02395-4 No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

In memory of a dear old soldier Brian Carroll,
Who was truly ‘a friend in need and deed’ and greatly missed since he went ‘over the top’.

FOREWORD - On the night of 10 July 1985 at Marsden Wharf in Auckland Harbor, French frogmen mined the Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior. Both bombs were placed on the starboard side, one on the engine room and the second near the propeller. Ten people were aboard at the time but only one man died - the photographer Fernando Pereira. He was stunned by the second bomb and drowned in his cabin. The 37-year-old Portuguese was a Dutch citizen and the father of two children living in Amsterdam. It was estimated that if the charges had exploded one hour earlier, nine more deaths could have occurred. Of the probable thirteen agents engaged in the operation only two were apprehended - Major Alain Marfart and Captain Dominique Prieur. Agents of the French Secret Service acting under orders, the saboteurs were traveling on false Swiss passports. On the 22nd November 1985 these two were sentenced to ten years imprisonment for manslaughter, and seven years for willful damage - terms to be concurrent. Later the New Zealand government of the day released the terrorists to serve their time on a French Pacific atoll. But in early May 1988 just before the French presidential election, both were back in Paris honored and free. This move without New Zealand's consent, and a clear breach of international law was seen as a cynical pre-election ploy ordered by Jacques Chirac the French Prime Minister. However Mr Chirac lost the presidential election, and was replaced as prime minister by Mr Michel Rocard who criticized his predecessor's handling of the affair. The French Minister of Defense Mr. Charles Hernu resigned, and the head of the DGSE (Direction Generale de la Securite Exterieure) Admiral Pierre Lacoste, was sacked.


"Damn! That's the last bloody straw." Colonel Nyles St.John Hawkspurr, DSO, MC, SAS (Ret), slammed his teacup onto the saucer with such vehemence, that they both shattered. His startled manservant emerged from the adjoining room with a look of concern upon his dark bearded face.
"I'm sorry Malik. No it's not the tea - it's those bloody French. They're promoting that terrorist chap Mafart! I'd better get up and you can change the bed."
Hawkspurr extricated himself from the sodden sheets, and padded away to the bathroom. He slept naked – as he had always done except for those periods on active service as a soldier. His 6'2" frame was trim and fit and as he boasted; he was still ready to fight, frolic, or follow the band!
Completing his shave, he trimmed the neat military moustache below the aquiline nose, and with some satisfaction ran a comb through the still thick, head of iron-gray hair. He was not a vain man, but like most soldiers, careful of his appearance and presentation.
From the mirror, hazel brown eyes mocked his scrutiny, and the humor lines at their corners deepened. "Silly old bastard!" They were chameleon eyes, and although Hawkspurr was unaware of the fact betrayed his every mood and emotion. Sparkling with mirth, warm with love, soft with compassion - penetrating in interrogation. Over the sights of a weapon, they transformed to flat black beads of onyx. The final merciless image, that many a terrorist had taken to his grave.
He ate his breakfast deep in thought, and the faithful Malik Singh who understood his every mood, refrained from any comment as he refilled the Colonel's teacup.
After a second slice of toast and marmalade and a third cup of tea, Hawkspurr spoke. "Fancy a bit of travel again Malik?"
"Only if it is your wish Sahib." The Indian replied cautiously.

"Not getting tied to the apron strings in your old age are you. Is Lila holding the reins too tight?" Hawkspurr teased.
The tall Sikh maintained his dignified bearing. "I would remind the Colonel that I am only three years older than he, and do not have to resort to the women of the bazaar for my pleasures. Perhaps as my dear wife so often remarks - it is high time the Sahib took a lady wife."
Hawkspurr laughed. "Can you honestly see any woman putting up with me on a permanent basis?"
The Indian allowed a fleeting smile to cross his bearded face. "Perhaps not Sahib."
The Colonel became serious. "Get me Captain Carroll on the telephone, and then saddle up Lancer. I need to ride and clear my brain."
"Hallo Brian how's Sydney?"
"Warm and sunny. How's that frostbitten wasteland you live in?"
"Positively tropical old son. Sweating cobs!"
"Bloody liar Nyles. What can I do for you?"
"Since you handle my finances, I'd like to fly over and discuss an idea with you."
"No problem. When shall I expect you?"
"Two days. Malik will advise my ETA."
"Roger. Look forward to seeing you - I've been sober for a whole month."
Hawkspurr replaced the receiver, and went to change dressing gown for boots and breeches.
Striding across a path of schist through well-tended lawns and hardy shrubs, he made his way to the stables. There, his favorite thoroughbred was snorting and prancing with anticipation as Malik tightened the girth one more notch. The big, handsome chestnut thrust a warm, welcoming muzzle into Hawkspurr's chest as they greeted each other in the cold crisp air.
"Good morning you ugly brute!"
Lancer replied with an indignant snort and a powerful push of his head - he knew he was beautiful!

Gathering the reins, the man swung himself up into the saddle and cast an appreciative eye over his surroundings.
The snow covered, double peak of Mount Kye dominated the northern horizon, and all the mountaintops within an encompassing radius sparkled and glistened with snow. Pines and skeletal willows were adorned with tinseled frosting. The slender stately poplars, once clad in the red, brown, and gold livery of autumn stood forlorn, but this was Central Otago at it's wintry best.
Lancer splashed into the fast, shallow waters of the Kyeburn; hock deep now and only five meters wide at this point. When winter snows melted in the spring the placid river would become a raging torrent, stretching a hundred meters from bank to bank.
Hawkspurr booted his mount through the ford, and cantered east to climb up a narrow escarpment. Reaching the plateau, he had a clear view of the road to Dansey Pass.
Grazing sheep scattered at their passing, and the rider kept the horse down to a sedate walk, enjoying the clean air and solitude. Mount Knobbler loomed at his right shoulder as he trotted along with the sun on his face.
He was searching for a safe way back down to the river, through the herringbone patterns of the old miners' tailings. He never ceased to marvel at the industrious labors that had created the neat regimental piles of washed stones.
As he rode Hawkspurr collated the plans for his next adventure, and Lancer delicately picked his way through tussock and dormant broom down to the water. Pawing experimentally at the surface, the animal drank deeply and then moved on without urging.
Hawkspurr was shaken from his reverie when they reached the road. Here Lancer lowered his head onto the bit, and kicked at the ground with impatience. The rider accepted the hint, and kneed the gelding onto the grass verge facing home.
Spurs were unnecessary, the former racehorse needed no encouragement and he bounded forward, stretching into an unbridled gallop.

An exhilarated Hawkspurr settled in the saddle with his cavalry style, and gave Lancer his head.
At a cattle-stop in the road he gathered the pounding horseflesh with hands and legs, and sent the animal flying over the railed gap. Regaining his stride Lancer thundered on, and Hawkspurr could not resist the urge to extend his arm over the horse's withers.
"Charge!" He screamed, thrusting forward an imaginary saber.
Lancer responded to the command with flaring nostrils and pounding hooves - he too loved this game.
Reaching home Hawkspurr dismounted, and after thanking his mount with a hearty slap on the sweat darkened neck, handed him over to the waiting Malik.
The dignified Syce frowned with disapproval. "You are both to old for such actions Sahib."
Hawkspurr grinned. "You old stick-in-the-mud! Did not our Grandfathers charge knee to knee on a dozen campaigns from the North-West Frontier, to Egypt and Flanders?"
"True Sahib, but neither you or this noble animal are that young."
Hawkspurr strode away from the stables with a laugh, and suddenly stopped slapping his riding crop against a boot. "Malik."
"You will dine with me tonight. Inform your wife, and when you’ve finished with Lancer come to my study." He resumed his march.
Hawkspurr turned from his desk, as Malik knocked and entered the study. "Sit down old friend, I have something to tell you."
Malik did not obey immediately, but first placed a tray of coffee on a side table. "Coffee Sahib?"
"Yes please. Now be seated."

With a sigh of resignation, the Sikh positioned himself on the edge of a chair adjacent to the desk. He looked the Colonel straight in the eyes with his uncompromising gaze. "Sahib?"
"I have a plan Malik."
"I have known that since you broke your fast this morning!"
Hawkspurr returned the level look. "I am going to organize one last operation."
"I feared so. Sahib you are no longer of the SAS, neither do you have any official standing. I thought we came here to live in peace, and for you to write your memoirs."
He paused to consider his next question. "Will you require me to accompany you Sahib?"
"Not initially. You'll have plenty to do here in my absence. If all goes well I shall contact you in three weeks with further details. Leave me now please I wish to put my rather sketchy ideas on paper, inform Lila that we'll dine at eight. You and I will discus the plans over dinner."
"Will the Colonel be going direct to Sydney tomorrow? I must make the necessary travel arrangements this afternoon."
"No, I want to sound out a certain Minister of the Crown in Wellington first. Book me a flight to Aussie the day after. I'll spend the night at the old Hotel St.George. Then file a flight plan up the East coast, I'll fly myself to the capital in the morning."
"Yes Sahib. I will check over the airplane once I have confirmed your bookings."
Hawkspurr mentally thanked his grandfather, who had the foresight to have Malik educated in England. When Malik's father had died with his regiment fighting the Japanese in Burma, Sir Francis had taken the grandson of his old servant and friend Ganga under his protective care and patronage. After leaving school, Malik had carried out his national service in the Royal Air Force as an Aircraft Fitter.
Malik was grateful for his education, but the blood of his warrior ancestors called and he wished to be a soldier, therefore Malik had returned to India, and joined the armored regiment of what had been in imperial times the Royal Deccan Horse.

The period had been an unhappy one, as Malik was sickened by the bitter and often bloody conflict between Hindu and Muslim. Old soldiers, who had fought together in the world war, now turned on each other in the name of religion.
The Sikh then decided to join Hawkspurr in Malaya. Four generations of Malik's family had served alongside the Hawkspurrs, and he and Nyles were boyhood friends. But times had changed, and it was impossible for the Sikh to join Hawkspurr's regiment, for at that time Hawkspurr was a troop leader in the Special Air Service.
However, Malik had struck up a friendship with a Sikh businessman in Kuala Lumpur, and it was arranged for him to be employed as a mechanic. There was also a bonus; the businessman's only offspring was a very attractive girl, Lila. Within six months Malik and Lila were married. They had raised two fine sons, and now thirty-six years later, were still happily together.
Logs crackled and spat cheerfully in the open fireplace, and candlelight glowed warmly on the Rimu wall paneling. The atmosphere in the dining room was redolent with the pungent aroma of curry and spices, and a tall woman dressed in a simple dark green sari, was placing chafing dishes of aromatic food on the oaken buffet.
Jhinga Pilau - prawns fried in onions, garlic, and ginger. Cooked with rice in cinnamon, chili, and garam masala. Spicy fried chicken. Curried lamb cutlets. Platters of chutney and pickles, steaming chapattis, sliced cucumber, and extra sauces.
Lila was still a beautiful woman, with just a hint of gray in the shining black hair pulled back severely into a bun. She smiled with pride at the two men in her life - both immaculate in dinner jackets. The Colonel Sahib clung to the old ways, and still dressed for dinner every night.
She too was an old-fashioned traditional Indian Lady, and never sat down with the men to eat. Content, she left the room for her own domain knowing that Malik would attend to Hawkspurr.

Malik carefully poured a glass of Montana Riesling Sylvaner from the Marlborough district, for Hawkspurr. It complimented the prawns to perfection, but he personally preferred the local Speights beer.
"Thanks old friend. Cheers."
"Cheers Colonel."
Hawkspurr polished off the last lamb cutlet, and it was followed down by a piece of chapatti dipped into the curry sauce. "Bloody delicious. As always."
He settled back and sipped at a Cabernet Sauvignon, also from the south island. "You know Malik, these New Zealand wines are as good as any in the world now." He rolled the red liquid appreciatively around his tongue, before swallowing. "Well you've been very patient with me so far, and now I'd like your opinion of my proposal. You recall the sinking of the `Rainbow Warrior' in 1985?"
Malik nodded in assent. "Yes Sahib. French Secret Service agents bombed the ship in Auckland Harbor."
"Right. Two underwater explosions just before mid-night, with ten men and women aboard. Fortunately there was only one death, that of the photographer Fernando Pereir. The father of two small children." Hawkspurr paused. "There were probably as many as thirteen French agents of the DGSE (Direction Generale des Services Exterieurs), involved during the operation. The whole show was bungled in the best Gallic manner, but nevertheless only two of the terrorists were apprehended - Major Alain Mafart, and Captain Dominique Prieur. I say terrorists, because although we do not approve of the French nuclear tests in the Pacific we are supposed to be a friendly trading partner, and a wartime ally. In my opinion their actions were cowardly and unsoldierly."
Hawkspurr flushed with suppressed anger, and took a large gulp of wine. "To top it all, the charges against Mafart and Prieur were reduced from murder to manslaughter, and they were only sentenced to ten years imprisonment. Later our government in their naivety released the prisoners to serve their time on a French atoll. By 1988 they were both back in Paris to a heroes welcome, and in time for the French presidential elections."

After pausing for another savage swallow, Hawkspurr continued.
"This morning I heard on the radio that Mafart - who is attending the French Military Staff College, has been promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel. Well I for one do not intend to let him get away with it. I have the outline of a plan to kidnap the man in Paris, and bring him back to New Zealand to complete his sentence."
Malik pondered this statement for some seconds, and then nodded in agreement. "What about the woman Prieur Sahib?"
"No. You know my feelings about women in war Malik, and besides the logistics of dealing with a female under the circumstances are too difficult. I'll make my point to the world simply by bringing Mafart back to justice."
"Has the Colonel considered his other alternative? He was once outstanding in his ability to dispense swift justice to the bringers of terror."
"Not this time. The Rainbow Warrior was on a mission of peace, and I must avenge it without the taking of life if at all possible."
"I understand Sahib, but you will require some assistance."
"Yes." Hawkspurr agreed. "That’s why I am leaving now. In three weeks I shall have recruited my team, all men that we know and trust. Then I shall send for you to help me get them into shape."
"That will be my pleasure Sahib."
Hawkspurr and Malik talked late into the night, the Sikh now as enthusiastic as his friend and contributing his own ideas to the plan.

CHAPTER TWO - Coming soon...



"What a glorious morning." Hawkspurr said to himself drawing in a lungful of the clear cool air. An anti-cyclone covered most of New Zealand, and the east coast was completely devoid of cloud.
Behind him, the wood-smoke from Lila's stove chimney rose in a vertical salute to what promised to be a wonderful day for flying. He had risen a little later than normal, but allowing for a four-hour flight, he would still arrive at Wellington Airport in time for a late lunch. With a full fuel tank of 127 liters his aircraft had an endurance of five and a half hours, so he had no need to put down for refueling.
He had dressed casually but warmly in white moleskin pants, and a heavy tan sweater with comfortable leather half boots. Although the Victa's cabin was heated he kept it to a minimum, preferring a sheepskin flying jacket to the stuffy atmosphere.
Malik had already taxied the tiny plane from its hanger, to the grass strip that served as a runway. The low wing monoplane looked smart in its livery of maroon and blue, and Malik was now busy polishing non-existent spots from the canopy. He had switched off the engine, knowing that Hawkspurr would repeat all the pre-flight checks.
"The old girl's looking good Malik - credit to you."
"Thank you Sahib." Hawkspurr ran his hand over the edge of the metal propeller. "No chance of it falling off?" He baited.
The dignified Sikh did not deign to reply.
Hawkspurr continued his inspection, checking tires and legs of the tri-cycle undercarriage, engine cover catches, and control surfaces of the all-metal fuselage and wings.
Satisfied, he climbed up into the cockpit and settled himself in the left seat. As he fitted his harness, Malik was on the opposite wing securing Hawkspurr's carryall and briefcase to the co-pilot's seat.

"All Ok. Sahib. Try not to bend the little one."
Malik held out his hand, which Hawkspurr grasped warmly. "I'll telephone you from Wellington O' Graybeard, and don't give Lila a hard time in my absence!"
Hawkspurr closed the canopy and waited for Malik to stand clear of the aircraft. Master switch, ignition, generator, mixture full rich, pressures O.K. - a little throttle - starter.
The four cylinders, Continental motor burst into life and purred contentedly.
He set the engine revolutions at 900, and watched the oil and fuel pressures. Fine. Magnetos Ok, set altimeter.
As he continued the run-up procedures, a sudden movement on the airstrip caught his peripheral vision. "Blast!" Two black Labradors were bounding joyfully towards the 'plane. Trooper and Musket had somehow slipped from the kennels, and decided to join the fun.
As soon as Malik had captured the escapees Hawkspurr gave him a quick wave, and with a glance at the windsock still hanging limply, released the brakes and applied full power to the throttle.
Adjusting the controls for torque and slipstream, he reached 60 knots and eased the aircraft into the air. As always when leaving the confines of the ground he experienced the same thrilling tingle in his gut, it was akin to the joy of a splendid hunter clearing a wide hedge. No small wonder that the best of the early military pilots were recruited from the cavalry.
At 200 feet, Hawkspurr raised the flaps and throttled back to climb at 70 knots.
Beneath him the paddocks shimmered with the morning frost, embellishing the brown tones of winter. Gaining altitude, he ascended in a gentle banking turn on a compass heading of 125 degrees.
His course took him above the valley of the Shag River, east to the coast at Palmerston. On his port wing loomed the Kakanui Mountains, and to starboard the Rock and Pillar Range, with the Taieri River sweeping down to the plains and sea south of the town of Mosgiel.

Below him wound the old supply road to the goldfields of last century, now a modern highway it was still known as the Pig Root. It's steepest gradient was aptly named Dead Horse Gap - many noble animals expired in their traces at this point on the long haul from the coastal city of Dunedin, and a small plaque here marks their passing into the history of early Otago.
Attaining his minimum allowed height of 2,000 feet Hawkspurr adjusted his power and trim to cruise at 90 knots, and switched on his radio.
"Hello Oamaru radio, this is Victa, Echo Mike Alfa." He transmitted his flight details and estimated time of arrival at Wellington. From now on he must report every 30 minutes - his freedom curtailed by necessary regulations.
Slightly different from his period spent flying an Auster over the wastes of Aden in the Middle East. When, as army observation pilot he had on occasion - and without authority - attempted to drop hand grenades onto Arab Marksmen. Embarrassing too, explaining the odd bullet hole in his fuselage as due to desert moths.
The monument at Palmerston stood starkly on the summit of Puketapu Hill, and Hawkspurr turned to port on a new heading of 35 degrees. He could clearly see the mysterious, huge spherical boulders on the beach at Moeraki, and there was probably a Maori legend surrounding these strange stones but they certainly resembled the discarded playthings of some ancient god.
Close to Cape Wanbrow he spotted the historical buildings of the Totara Estate - birthplace of New Zealand's frozen meat export industry. The lovely harbor town of Oamaru with its cream-white stone structures, and wide tree lined streets gleamed in the morning sun, and at the mouth of the Waitaki River - famous for superb salmon and trout.

Hawkspurr altered course slightly to remain close to the coast. Timaru Harbor, and the orderly patterns of the Canterbury Plains stretching away for a hundred miles or more, and 75 miles off his port wing, the exposed backbone of the South Island in the shape of the Southern Alps. Climax of this great chain with it's summit at 12,349 feet, was Mount Cook - known to the Maori people as Aorangi, Cloud Piercer.
The only cloud in sight at the moment was blanketed along the west coast beyond the mountains. Easy to see why this country was called Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud - irreverent Australian cousins sometimes substituted Shroud for Cloud!
Out on the Canterbury Bight Hawkspurr spotted the Flagship of the country's fleet of tall ships. The Spirit of New Zealand was an inspiring sight, beating south in a light breeze with her 7,600 square feet of white sails enveloping their slave, the wind.
The black-hulled Barquentine was a living jewel in a foaming cream setting nestling on an undulating cushion of turquoise, and the romantic Hawkspurr could not resist a salute to her beauty.
After a careful search of the area around his craft, he increased his airspeed to maneuver into a barrel roll off the ship's starboard quarter.
He was rewarded with enthusiastic waves from the crew, and waggling his wings in acknowledgement resumed his course.
Crossing the neck of Banks Peninsular Hawkspurr experienced some turbulence, but was still able to observe the bustling activity of Christchurch International Airport with a margin of safety.
Here the city's cathedral spire soared skyward amongst the orderly lines of streets and avenues, marking the most English metropolis in the southern hemisphere.
Along the Kaikoura coast, surf beat relentlessly on the rugged shoreline. Sperm whales broke the surface here to blow and spume during their secret journeying and the seals of the colony disported, and sunned themselves on the seaweed-draped rocks of their land-bound sanctuary. Hawkspurr's thoughts turned greedily to food, as he visualized the succulent crayfish harvested from these rich seas.

Hawkspurr left the South Island behind at Cape Campbell, and twenty minutes later identified himself to Wellington Tower.
He was lucky with air traffic, and ordered to make his approach straight in to Rongatai over Lyall Bay.
The capital was his favorite New Zealand city, and he loved the way the hills tumbled down to the harbor, with colorful painted homes clinging to their slopes.
At the terminal building, Hawkspurr handed the Victa over to a waiting friend from the local Aero Club who had offered to take the 'plane to the club hangers at Paraparaumu.
Pausing only long enough to pay the agreed ferry fee - a bottle of Scotch, he shouted above the din of jet engines winding up.
"Thanks Peter. I'll call you from Sydney on my way back."
Hawkspurr hurried towards the concourse entrance, where a Corporal of the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment stood surveying the figures on the apron.
"Colonel Hawkspurr?"
"Yes Corporal."
The NCO saluted smartly. "The Brigadier sends his compliments sir. He'll contact you later today. In the meantime I'm to take you to lunch at Fort Dorset - or anywhere else you'd like to go."
Hawkspurr grinned, "Thanks, but I'll forego the pleasures of the Mess this time. I've sampled their hospitality before! And I've rather a lot to accomplish today."
Seated in the staff-car, Hawkspurr turned to the driver. "I'll tell you what I would enjoy, a nice drive around the harbor road and Evans Bay, do you think that would be in order?"
"Good as done sir."
The ride along the waters edge was a genuine pleasure. Yachts bounced and heeled under the perpetual breezes of Port Nicholson and freighters from overseas ploughed their way through the deep waters, right into the commercial heart of the city.

Progress, and earthquake regulations dictated that Wellington's skyline differed each time Hawkspurr visited the capital, and it was therefore a pleasant surprise to find the Hotel St.George unaltered - at least to its exterior.
As the soldier deposited Hawkspurr's bags at the entrance of the hotel on the busy corner, Hawkspurr thanked him for the enjoyable tour from the airport. He pressed a ten-dollar note into the corporal's hand. "I can't ask you in for a drink whilst you're on duty, but please have a round on me in your canteen tonight. Thank you again."
"My privilege sir. Thank you." He saluted and returned to his car.
Settled in a quiet upstairs room at the rear of the hotel, Hawkspurr ordered a chicken salad from room service, and after eating with relish lay down for a nap.
The first ring of the telephone bell brought him to his feet, and immediately alert. "Hawkspurr."
"Hallo Nyles. Bill."
"Bill! How are you?"
"Very well thanks. Sorry I was unable to meet you personally, but I’ve arranged for the Minister to join you for dinner at the George tonight. He's naturally a bit nervous about seeing you in the Beehive (NZ Parliament Building). Whatever personal feelings are, the Rainbow Warrior is still a very touchy affair."
"Understood. What time shall I expect him?"
"Nineteen hundred, he'll go straight to your room. Are you going on to Sydney tomorrow?"
"Yes, but I hope I'll catch you on my return. Many thanks for all you've done Bill - I realize that you’re sticking your neck out by getting involved in this."
"No sweat Hawk. Good luck."
Hawkspurr spent the remainder of the afternoon trimming fat from his plans. As a former general staff officer, he appreciated the importance of brevity and clarity, and felt sure that the politician whose aid he hoped to enlist would also prefer a concise presentation.

For the sake of discretion he ordered dinner to be served in his room at eight o'clock. Not knowing the minister's tastes, he selected a safe menu: Avocado with crab, an entree of Stewart Island Salmon Steak, and a main fare of Sirloin Steak Garni. Side salads and a Camembert Cheese should round off the meal nicely.
To compliment the food he chose two North Island wines; a Babich Fume Vert, and Vidal's Pinot Noir. He checked the liquor cabinet - brandy, scotch, and Fino dry pale sherry. Should be enough to sweeten even a Labor politician.
Promptly at seven o'clock, Hawkspurr answered a discreet knock on his door.
"Colonel Hawkspurr?"
"Come in Minister. Good of you to see me."
The men shook hands warily, not quite boxers touching gloves - but without Hawkspurr's customary warmth.
"Sorry about the cloak and dagger stuff Colonel, but you understand that I'm on sensitive ground?"
"Of course." Hawkspurr examined the slightly younger man, and noted with approval the badge of the Returned Services Association in his lapel. "Vietnam?" he queried.
"Yes sir."
`Well that's something to be grateful for', thought Hawkspurr.
"Will you have a drink Minister? I've ordered dinner for eight."
"Scotch and water please."
They faced each other across the coffee table, and Hawkspurr waited for the politician to taste his whisky.
"How much did the Brigadier tell you Minister?"
"Very little. Sufficient to intrigue me, that's why I agreed to listen to your ideas."
"Right," said Hawkspurr, "I'll get on with it."

The minister sat patiently without interrupting, as the colonel out-lined the salient features of his plan. The fine details were of no interest to the politician at this time, and having completed his brief monologue Hawkspurr rose and refilled the glasses, waiting for some reaction from his guest.
The minister smiled. "Brilliant, but can you enlist the team to carry this operation through?"
Hawkspurr returned the smile. "They're the least of my problems. What I want reassurance of is your governments' response when I drop Mafart back in their collective laps."
"Ah now! That’s entirely a matter for Cabinet and the Justice Department. All I can promise is my full support and co-operation when the time comes." The minister paused to remove a document from his inner pocket.
Opening it, he read quickly down the first page. "I must say your credentials for the job are impeccable. Service in the Royal Horse Guards and Special Air Service Regiment, attached to the French Foreign Legion, and a mercenary officer in Africa. Not to mention the General Staff, a Military Cross, Mentioned in Dispatches, the Purple Heart, and sundry other qualifications."
"Just a professional soldier carrying out his duties minister." Replied Hawkspurr modestly.
"You haven't mentioned finance Colonel - surely you don't expect assistance from the government?"
Although I imagine that when I pull it off you'll all be looking for your share of kudos - especially with an election coming up? No, I'm paying for the whole operation out of my own funds, call it my swan song if you wish."
"Pour me another brandy Colonel and I'll drink to your success. I promise that I won't let you down at this end, here’s my private telephone number so that you can keep me posted on your progress. Good luck, and thank you for the marvelous meal."
The following day Hawkspurr boarded an Air New Zealand flight to Sydney, Australia.
He was content with the outcome of his meeting with the minister - one cannot expect too much from a politician.
Then he did what every good soldier does given the opportunity - he went to sleep.

CHAPTER THREE- Coming soon....



The Boeing 747, as long as a football field and wearing the Koru emblem on its tail, swept out of the Pacific and across Captain Cook's original landing place at Inscription Point. Continuing its descent over Botany Bay with the refinery chimneys at La Perouse spewing flame and fumes into the clear air, it touched down at Kingsford Smith Airport.
As the `plane taxied in to the overseas terminal, Hawkspurr searched the observation deck for his friend, but unable to sight him assumed that Brian would be in the bar. He collected his bags, and went through Customs to emerge onto the main concourse, but there was still no sign of Brian. Oh well, only one place to look. He made his way up the escalators to the bar adjacent the International Restaurant, where he stopped inside the glass doors and lowered his bags to the floor. Before he could turn his head, his arms were pinioned to his sides and a pair of warm moist lips fastened onto his mouth.
"Nyles Darling, welcome to civilization!"
Over the woman's head he saw Brian, eyes rolling to the ceiling with his hands palms up indicating "Sorry - what could I do?" Jenifer McBain, widow of an old comrade - and some-time lover since her husband's death. Dressed always in fashionable black, Hawkspurr's secret label for her was The Merry Widow. Not very original, but most apt. A wide brimmed hat perched on fair tight curls, and laughing blue eyes shone from a rather narrow face made up to perfection. The black jersey wool dress was fitted to exhibit her slim elegant figure, and the only ornament allowed to distract from the display was a single strand of pearls - a gift from Hawkspurr. Sheer black stockings, and black high-heeled shoes completed the ensemble with a Russian Sable coat hanging carelessly from her shoulders.

"Jenny! You look stunning. Just what are you doing here?"
"Darling I was having lunch with Margot and Brian, and he let slip that you were coming over. Tell me you missed me. Tell me that you're moving back to the real world." "Sorry Jenny. Give me a moment." He extricated himself from the enveloping arms, and moved to shake Brian's hand. In turn Brian hugged him with a bear-like grip. "Good to see you, you old bastard. Sorry about Jenny, but still, could be useful eh?" He gave Hawkspurr a hearty nudge and a wink. Hawkspurr laughed. "Have to admit it's been a while. Come on, buy a poor old soldier a drink and let's swap some lies." Brian Carroll, former boy soldier and latterly Intelligence Officer. He was stocky and powerful with sandy hair, amiable Irish feature and spectacles, a little beefy now with age but still a handsome man. Brian was worldly knowledgeable, a wizard with finance and had taken care of Hawkspurr's interests for years. He had always been unstinting in his hospitality and generosity, and Hawkspurr counted him as his best and finest friend. "Right old mate, what's all the mystery?" Brian did not believe in wasting time. "Bit awkward at the moment Brian." Hawkspurr swiveled his eyes in Jennifer's direction. "Roger." Brian grinned. "Tell you what we'll do. Why don't I drop you and Jenny off somewhere, and you and I will get together early tomorrow?" "Super Darling," Jenny interjected "I certainly don’t want to listen to your beastly soldiers' tales." "Fine with me," said Hawkspurr "but isn't Margot expecting us?" "Not since she realized that Jenny was coming out to meet you." “Which way?" Asked Brian as the car reached Gardeners Road from the Airport.

"Doyles at Watsons Bay please Brian." Jennifer always knew exactly what she wanted. Hawkspurr smiled at Brian, and nodded his assent. "Wilco Madam." Brian turned the vehicle right and headed for Bunnerong Road, Anzac Parade past Randwick Racecourse, and through Centennial Park to Bondi. Here he lapsed into his W.C. Fields voice. "Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Bondi Beach - largest city of New Zealand and the Maori capital of Australia!" They all laughed. “To say nothing of all those suntanned tits littering the sands. It's enough to give a girl a complex." Jennifer pouted, and cupped her own small breasts thrusting her chest towards Hawkspurr. "What do you think Darling?" Hawkspurr winked at her. "Anything more than a mouthful is overkill!" Brian left the couple at the famous seafood restaurant on the beach at Watson's Bay. He promised to keep the following day free for Hawkspurr, and drove away in the direction of the city. Jennifer swept all before her as she made her entrance into the dining room. "Dennis Darling," she gushed "champagne please. The Taittinger well chilled." The waiter almost ran to do her bidding. Dennis poured the wine, and placed on the table a platter of Balmain Bugs - a succulent little sea creature whose tail has the texture of lobster, but a delicate flavor all of its own. "Now darling Nyles, relax and enjoy. This is my treat, and we'll start with an aphrodisiac." She smiled sweetly at the waiter. "Bring me Oysters Zarina, with caviar and chopped egg - Baluga of course." She paused only long enough to sip her champagne. "Follow that with Barramundi Meunier a la'orange. I know you adore that fish Nyles." She clapped her hands together in inspiration. "Then we'll devour your largest lobster - Amoreuse I think - with plenty of Pernod in the sauce."

Jennifer extended her shoe-less foot under the table, and caressed the inside of Hawkspurr's thigh.
"Dessert and liqueurs will be served at my place."
Hawkspurr grinned seductively. "I shall put myself entirely in your hands Jenny." "Indeed you will Nyles. Indeed you will!" By the time they reached Jennifer's apartment in Vaucluse, the lights were coming on in Sydney, and standing on the balcony with a glass of champagne in his hand, Hawkspurr could look straight up the harbor to the Opera House and bridge. Pleasure craft of all shapes and sizes scurried for their berths in the fading light, and busy ferries bustled along with their cargo of commuters. Jennifer joined him and slipped an arm around his waist. "You're off on another bloody madcap scheme aren't you Darling?" Hawkspurr stalled to collect his thoughts. "The Old Coat hanger looks a treat illuminated, doesn't she? Do you realize that I'm the same age as that bridge?" "Darling I lost my husband to your military adventures, and I don't want to lose you. Come and live with me in Cooma if you can't stand the city. You can write there - and you won't even have to marry me." Hawkspurr took the woman in his arms and kissed her. "We'll talk about it one day, but right now I have my own plans to formulate." Jennifer stormed away in a huff to an inner room, leaving Hawkspurr to finish his drink. Ten minutes later a seductive voice broke into Hawkspurr's reverie. "Darling...is there anything I can possibly get you?" He turned slowly to peer into the dimly lit lounge. Framed in the bedroom doorway with an arm raised like a Hollywood siren stood Jennifer. A sheer black negligee was draped from her bare shoulders and she was naked except for garter belt, stockings, and high-heeled shoes. The subdued lighting gleamed off perfect breasts and the softly contoured belly. Alluring shadows highlighted her thighs. Hawkspurr swallowed hard and then laughed - she had even replaced the wide brimmed picture hat, and long black gloves. "You little minx! You're really hitting below the belt, aren't you?" Jennifer didn't bother to reply, she simply stared with her level gaze as Hawkspurr moved across the room unbuttoning his shirt. Halting, he picked the woman up bodily and moved to the bed. Tossing her onto the mattress, he stood over her and removed the rest of his clothing. Jennifer reached out and pulled the man savagely down to her. "Nyles I adore you - you absolute bastard."

Jennifer was still sleeping soundly, when Hawkspurr telephoned for a taxi and slipped quietly from the apartment. The weather was fine, and relatively cool for Sydney - a good omen he thought.
This south side of the harbor was indeed picturesque and Hawkspurr's driver Demitrious - "Call me Dem sport." - although Greek born, was a very proud New Australian. He kept up a running commentary as they traveled west to the city. "That's Vaucluse House, home of the explorer William Wentworth. One of youse Poms - 'enry 'ayes - tried to get rid of the snakes there by planting turf from Ireland. Huh, buckleys chance." Hawkspurr smiled - he'd forgotten that here in Australia he was a Pom. "What d'you reckon to our Opera 'ouse mate?" "Magnificent." Hawkspurr replied, and then couldn't resist the temptation of a stir. "It reminds me of a line of washing in a stiff breeze." "Jeez!" snorted the indignant New Australian, "them's sails mate. Bloody sails." He drew a deep breath and continued unperturbed. "Bennelong Point we call it - after some Abo', but the settlers in 1788 called it Cattle Point on account of they put the first animals ashore there. One bull, four cows, a bull calf, one stallion, three mares, and three colts. So there." He finished proudly. Circular Quay - site of the original settlement of the colony - was bright and noisy, bustling with the vigor and excitement of today's healthy young Australians. They were the descendants of those poor unfortunates who had struggled through deprivation and near starvation, on this very spot at Sydney Cove. The taxi drove onto the second longest steel arch bridge in the world. Five hundred and eight meters of vehicles jammed bumper to bumper in this peak hour. Crowded trains rattled by on one side and pedestrians walked briskly, or jogged on the pavement to their places of work. Hawkspurr was relieved to finally enter the quiet of Brian's office in the North Shore suburb of Crows Nest - so named for a cottage built on the site in 1819 by one Alexanda Berry. After some small talk, and a little leg pulling regarding Jennifer, Brian put the question. "Well Hawk, what are you up to this time?" "I'm going to France to kidnap Alain Marfart, and return him to prison in New Zealand." Brian Carroll did not blink an eyelid. "How can I help?" "Firstly I'm going to recruit a team of our old friends to assist me. I'll need an open flight ticket to Hong Kong, Kuching, Nairobi, and Nicosia. Hopefully there will be other individual tickets required from those airports - details by cable as I progress." Carroll busied himself writing notes, then looked up "Passport in order?" "Yes I'm Ok for those destinations, and we'll obtain French visas in London. I'll also need travelers’ cheques for day to day expenses." "No problem," Brian assured him, "our bank is in this building. When do you want to leave?" "As early as possible tomorrow." "Good. Margot is expecting you for dinner this evening." "One more thing Brian." "Shoot." "Will you join me later?" Brian grinned. "Try and keep me away." They cooked their own steaks for lunch in the beer garden of a popular North Shore pub, and reminisced, as old soldiers are wont to do. By the time the two returned to Brian's office, it was only necessary for Hawkspurr to sign the travelers’ checks. The efficient secretary had a ticket for Hong Kong, and had made all the arrangements for Hawkspurr's ongoing travel. Anticipating this, Hawkspurr had stopped to buy the girl a bouquet of flowers, and as she stammered her thanks Brian remarked. "Leave it out mate. You'll spoil the bloody help!" "Well I was hoping for one more favor," smiled Hawkspurr, "Joyce would you please send a cable to this address in Hong Kong for me?" He bent and wrote on the desk pad. Anything for you Colonel." She glared at Brian. "A little appreciation still goes a long way." Brian laughed. "Come on Hawk, I'm taking you home before you disrupt the whole damn building."

CHAPTER FOUR - Coming soon...

Published by Hawkspurr Productions for your reading pleasure and entertainment with our compliments.



Hong Kong, the 'Fragrant Harbor'. A British colony lying off the southeast coast of China. Ceded to Britain at the end of the Opium War by the treaty of Nanking 1842, she is due to be handed back to the People's Republic in 1997. The colony was developed as a major trading center and free port, and for a time was an important British naval base.
From 1941 to 1945 Hong Kong was occupied by the Japanese forces, but since the end of World War Two she has expanded rapidly, mainly through the export of manufactured goods.
During China's cultural revolution in 1967 the local communists carried out terrorist bombings and incited serious riots. Hong Kong was however, too useful an outlet to be taken over by force. Over 25% of China's foreign trade passes through the colony - her biggest single export market.
Looking down onto the sparkling waters of the harbor - perennially busy with every mode of aquatic transport known to man - Hawkspurr could only compare the scene with impressions from his first visit in 1952.
As a young soldier he had sailed into this exotic port aboard a British troop ship, he and his companions eager to do battle with the communist hordes of North Korea. (See: Korean Raider)
Now thirty-seven years later, seated in the comfort of a jumbo jet, Hawkspurr could have sworn that the identical vessels were still ploughing their way through the same seas. Only the skyline had changed dramatically, where skyscraper buildings seemed to keep on climbing; an attempt to overawe the majestic mountains dominating the background, or monuments to the real god of this city - money.
Hawkspurr eagerly scanned the gesticulating. Sweating noisy mass of humanity gathered at Kai Tak International Airport. Then, under a placard proclaiming ~HAWK~ he spotted Cory.
Jim Cory, former Chief Superintendent of the Hong Kong Police. He had lived and served in the colony since 1938, including nearly fours years in a Japanese prison. His pregnant wife had died in captivity in 1942, and he had never forgiven or forgotten. Ironically, the second invasion of the Japanese seemed to be well established, with the ubiquitous neon signs promoting their products.
As tall as Hawkspurr's 6'2", Cory's figure was a little stooped, and the rather flat brown eyes framed in a deeply etched face, crowned by cropped white hair intimated a life of much personal suffering.
The two embraced. "Jim! You don't look a day over ninety-nine, how come you're still on your feet?"
"Because I'm a very sprightly seventy-six you young pup! Good to see you."
Cory stepped back for a better look at Hawkspurr. "I have to admit that you look well. How's Brian?"
"Fine. Sends his best wishes, and wants to know when you're going to visit again."
Since their retirement, it was the practice of Hawkspurr and Cory to meet every year in either Sydney or Perth, where Brian usually joined them.
Cory grinned. "Let's find out what you're up to first. I've contacted Jimmy McKenzie as you asked in your cable, but he's busy until tomorrow morning. In fact we're having breakfast with him - I'll give you the details later."
As other travelers jostled and screamed for transportation, Cory led the way to a waiting taxi. The driver was one of Cory's old constables, and affectionately made himself available whenever the ex Super' needed him.
"I expect you'd like a shower and a cold beer before we eat, so we'll go straight home."
Cory spoke to the driver in Cantonese who drove ferociously off, into the motorized combat that is Kowloon traffic, to eventually enter the cross-harbor road tunnel connecting Kowloon with the island of Hong Kong.
"I moved up to a two bedroom flat when they demolished the old building," remarked Cory as the taxi halted outside a modern apartment block in Victoria, "I thought it might be a trifle undignified for Colonel to sleep on the sofa."
Hawkspurr looked around the flat and laughed. "Nice, but I'll bet that you still don't keep much food in the refrigerator." He walked into a tiny kitchenette and opened the white enameled door.
“Just as I thought. Beer, cheese and pickles, and more beer. Typical bloody Yorkshireman."
"Not quite smart ass," retorted Cory "if you examine the evidence a little closer you'll find a couple of very decent bottles of wine just in your honor."
Hawkspurr made a mock bow. "I stand chastised sir. Mind if I open one now?"
"Go for your life chum, there's a whole case in the cupboard. I can't pronounce the name, but I remember you love a good German white when you can get it."
Hawkspurr removed a bottle from the fridge and carefully wiped beads of condensation from the label. "Very nice. Heylzu Herrnsheim Niersteiner Pettental Riesling Auslese 1976." He intoned. "And also very expensive - you sure you weren't on the take in the force?"
"Just open and enjoy you cheeky blighter."
"Will you join me?" Hawkspurr was busy searching for glasses.
"No thanks mate. Whisky and milk for me I can't even handle a cold beer anymore."
"Sorry, I forgot. Is the old gut wound still giving you trouble?"
Cory grimaced. "Now and again. I guess neither of us will ever forget that day."
They searched each other's face and smiled sadly both recalling the time they had pursued the communist agent, Gunter Von Harzburg through the back streets of Kowloon. On that occasion the German had wounded Cory and killed one of his most promising men. Despite Hawkspurr's efforts that day, the agent had escaped to become his adversary on many assignments over the ensuing years.
Cory was the first to break the silence. "Enough. Take your wine into the bath, and then take a nap. We'll have dinner in Aberdeen - tonight I have a surprise for you."

Aberdeen - base of the sea fisheries, and a floating city of sampans where people spend their entire lives from conception to death.
A dignified, elderly lady separated herself from the group of sampan operators waiting for custom, and crossed the wooden landing jetty to greet the tall Europeans. Smiling gently, she took both of Cory's hands in her slender fingers. "Nee-een haoo Jimmy."
"Hallo Betty old girl." Cory bent and kissed the woman. "Look who's here to see you."
Hawkspurr was a little shocked to find Cory's faithful old girl friend in these circumstances, but covered his confusion with a jest. "Betty! You’re as gorgeous as ever. You out slumming?"
The Chinese woman playfully slapped Hawkspurr's arm. "No, but I can see you are as cheeky as ever."
Cory had read Hawkspurr's unspoken thoughts. "Don't blame me. Betty wanted to end her days where she began - on the water. She has an allowance from me, and certainly doesn't need to work."
He turned to the smiling woman. "I think you're just looking for a younger man to bed!"
Betty cackled with ribald laughter, and whispered a lewd retort that Hawkspurr was unable to interpret. With incredible agility, the seventy-year-old woman sculled the two men across lantern lit waters to a floating restaurant, and deposited them at the gangway.
"I'll be back for you later. Yeee loo piing ahn - good luck Hawk."
As Betty pushed off her strident laugh rang out again. "Double surprise Hawk. Double surprise!"
A puzzled Hawkspurr followed Cory and the Chinese Maitre d' through the maze of candlelit tables to a private alcove.
As the beaded curtains were drawn back, Hawkspurr exclaimed in genuine surprise. "Good heavens! Sandra, Sheree. I thought you were living in California." He staggered as the twin Chinese women literally threw themselves at him, showering kisses and embracing him.
"Hawk, Hawk." They cried simultaneously, "It is so good to see you again. We never forget you."
A chuckling Cory rescued the Colonel. "Break it up you two, you'll damage the poor old thing."
Finally extricating themselves, the three took their places at the table, and raised the glasses of champagne already poured for them by the diligent waiter.
"Cheers!" They shouted in unison - turning many curious heads at adjacent tables, as they downed the toast in a single swallow. "Yam sing!"
"When you came through that curtain Hawk," laughed Sandra, "you looked as stunned as you did the first night we met."
"Well I couldn't believe my luck then either. I had just met the most beautiful Chinese girl I had ever laid eyes on, and then wham! Standing in front of me was her twin." Hawkspurr smiled broadly. "That was a night I often think about during my lonely periods. I can even tell you what you were both wearing – at least for a while."
"A bottle of champagne says you don't remember." Sheree challenged. "We didn't keep our clothes on long enough."
"You're on." Hawkspurr leaned back in his chair, and closed his eyes tightly the better to concentrate.
"You both wore identical cornflower blue cheongsams, embroidered with dark blue flowers. How's that?"

He exclaimed as he opened his eyes. "Your hair is still as dark, but your superstructure is a little fuller!" He gestured with both hands in front of his chest.
The women clapped their hands and cheered. "Hawk, I didn't even recall that myself."
Sheree signaled the waiter. "Poon, another magnum of champagne please."
They dined on Egg Flower Soup, then a whole white fish stuffed with shrimp mushrooms and water chestnuts. Beef with green peppers followed, then chicken and almonds, and heaps of fluffy steamed rice.
Throughout the meal they reminisced, and joked, and were young again.
"Tell me girls, do you still live on the `Heavenly Flower' boat?"
"No." They giggled together. "We made so much money in San Diego, we now live in a beautiful house overlooking Repulse Bay."
"That's wonderful, and are you still in business?"
Again the twins giggled. "No. We have become very clever investors on the Stock Market - and very rich." They looked at each other with mischievous eyes. "But we do occasionally entertain old and dear friends."
It was midnight before the contented, and satiated quartet departed the restaurant and were ferried ashore, from whence the twins delivered Cory to his apartment in their chauffeuse driven, powder blue Rolls Royce.
"Make sure you have Hawk at the airport by eight o'clock sharp girls - and in one piece. I'll meet you there. Good night, and have fun!"
That night Hawkspurr, Sandra and Sheree relived the passions of their past encounters. If not with the exuberance of youth - the threesome shared a caring, uninhibited display of affection combined with sensual, experienced loving.

CHAPTER FIVE - Coming soon...

Published by Hawkspurr Productions for your reading pleasure and entertainment with our compliments.



As always, Hawkspurr arrived at the rendezvous five minutes before time. Since his training as a recruit Guardsman, he boasted that he had never been late for a parade or an appointment.
Cory's arrival at the Airport Helipad coincided with the precise landing of a Westland Gazelle. The neat, turbine powered helicopter sported a livery of highland tartan on pristine white, and as she touched down the pilot gestured the waiting passengers to board.
Cory settled himself in the rear of the five-seater helicopter, and Hawkspurr climbed into the front. As he fastened his seat belt and placed the radio headset over his ears, he gave the pilot a thumbs up sign. For a moment the pilot ignored Hawkspurr, busy in an exchange with the control Tower.
Receiving clearance, he skillfully manipulated collective and cyclic controls, to lift the Gazelle as swiftly as her namesake into her natural element - the air. The slightest touch of rudder pedal and stick, and they were heading south and west as they climbed over the waters of Lei U Mun.
"Welcome aboard Sir." The warm Scots accent as always, evoked memories of the first time he had met this courageous little man. Small only in stature Jimmy McKenzie possessed the fighting heart of a tiger, and had demonstrated it on more than one occasion in the colonel's company.
None more so than that first night, when they met in a foxhole in Korea. Out of ammunition and supplies they had fought side-by-side, pushing back the screaming ranks of Chinese invaders with bayonet, fists, and boots. Only a handful of the defenders on that particular salient survived the bloody carnage that night, but Jimmy McKenzie and Hawkspurr had lived to fight again.
They had later served together in the same Troop of the Special Air Service Regiment, during the jungle campaigns of Malaya.
Subsequently Jimmy had discovered a love of flying and the skills necessary to transfer from his Highland Regiment to the Army Air Corps.
Over the years, their paths had crossed in the many countries where British soldiers served. Now Hawkspurr had come to ask his friend to serve again; this time however they would be civilians working alone with only their resourcefulness and inherent discipline to back them up.
Reaching the island of Tung Lung, the helicopter changed course slightly east of north, heading for Long Harbor some 23 kilometers distant.
Jimmy started his descent over the village of Chik Kang, and swooped down towards a large barge anchored in an isolated bay. Unerringly, the former army pilot landed gently on the helipad deck at the stern of the vessel.
As McKenzie closed down and the rotors spun slowly to a stop, he removed his helmet and turned towards Hawkspurr. "It's really great to see you again sir. We've missed you."
"I've missed you too Jimmy. You look terrific. You're the only one of us who's kept his military figure! How do you do it?"
"Chinese cooking sir. Ever see a fat Chinaman?"
And indeed, the years had been good to the Scot thought Hawkspurr. The same bright intelligent gray eyes, and the slim 5'6" wiry frame. Only the tightly knit, black hair showed signs of age with a liberal sprinkling of iron-gray strands.
As McKenzie helped Cory down from the back seat, a black furry bundle exploded across the deck and leapt into his arms. Barking excitedly, the diminutive highland terrier licked his master's face and then jumped down to attack Hawkspurr.
"Hallo Angus you wee devil. You’ve not forgotten me I see." Hawkspurr scratched the little dog's belly as he rolled over yelping with delight.
Straightening up, the colonel walked across the deck to where a slender woman stood smiling affectionately, her hands crossed demurely in front of her she bowed her head in greeting. "Welcome to our humble home colonel. It has been too long since your last visit."
Hawkspurr reached for her hands and raised them to his lips. "Thank you Mary. I hope I will still be welcome when you realize that I have come to take your husband away once more."
Mary smiled again - if a little sadly. "When the message came, I knew in my heart that you were still following your star. My husband could never be happy if you journeyed without him - therefore I too would be miserable. Come, I am preparing a meal for you."
She turned and led the way the way to the structure that covered the forward three quarters of the barge.
Mary Louise McKenzie; half Scot, half Chinese. With her pale complexion and black bobbed hair, she looked totally Asian - but spoke in the soft Highland brogue of her banker father.
Born and bred in Hong Kong, she had studied economics in Edinburgh, and now ran her husband's lucrative air tour business.
"Where's Nicola?" Hawkspurr enquired, referring to the McKenzies' ten-year-old daughter.
"Spending a few days being spoilt by her grand-parents," replied Mary, "she adores you, but I have a feeling that you have much to discuss with Jimmy. I told her that you would spend more time with us later."
"I'll do better than that. Tell her that I’m planning a skiing holiday for her in New Zealand next winter."
Mary clapped her hands in delight. "Oh thank you Nyles, she will love that." She looked down, and then asked coyly, "Am I also invited?"
"Naturally. It's to be a grand reunion celebrating an injustice put right."
Mary looked puzzled. "An injustice?"
Hawkspurr grinned at the woman. "Just keep thinking positively Mary. You'll see."
They entered the superstructure through heavy teak doors, followed by Cory and McKenzie. The atmosphere in the saloon was pleasantly air-conditioned, but decorated in total contrast to the Chinese concept one would expect. Massive blackened beams were exposed, accented by white plaster wall panels.
The furniture was dark oak, and the scattered rugs reflected the deep reds of a clan tartan. Crossed claymores and targets - the swords and shields of ancient Scotland - adorned the walls. A stag's head and landscapes of moor and loch completed the transportation of a miniature highland hall to this vessel in a remote Eastern Bay.
Hawkspurr exclaimed with pleasure. "I have to give it to you Scots Jimmy - you show a proper pride in your heritage, and this is a big improvement on that poky flat you were living in the last time that I saw you."
"Aye, and we can move whenever we get bored with the view." The Scot agreed.
"Excellent security too." Interspersed Cory, with a sly look at McKenzie. "No nosy Coppers dropping in unannounced."
Hawkspurr looked from one to the other of his friends with a frown on his face. "Am I missing something here?"
Cory laughed. "The local Fuzz does have a wee file on our airborne pal here. Unsubstantiated suspicions regarding some of his nocturnal flights mostly!"
McKenzie winked. "Aye. They seem to think that all of my passengers aren't harmless tourists."
Before Hawkspurr could pursue the matter further, the three were interrupted by a call from Mary. "Come and get it boys. I thought you were here for breakfast."
Over a solid meal of porridge, eggs and bacon with mugs of sweet dark tea laced with rum, Hawkspurr questioned McKenzie on his recent activities.
"Well as you know sir, I spent the last years of my service with the Army Air Corps right here, flying single engine Scouts out of Sek Kong in the New Territories. We had a twenty-six mile long border to patrol. Five months of the year flying in low cloud, fog or drizzle and often at night. Naturally I picked up a bit of local knowledge, and made some contacts amongst the illegal immigrants we detected."
"What did you do with the poor blighters you caught?"
"We just handed them over to the Royal Hong Kong Police, who then passed them back to the Chinese Peoples Republic Police." McKenzie answered. "After that I hate to think what happened to them."
He paused to reflect for a moment. "Anyway, when my time was up I decided to stay on and go into business for myself. With my savings and pension, and a lot of help from Mary's father, I bought the first Gazelle. Since then I've taken on two more ex army pilots so that we cover the whole territory without bumping into each other, and it works very well."
Cory finished his tea with a contented sigh. "Thank you Mary. I never bother to cook breakfast for myself, and that was a real treat. If you'll excuse me I'll take a turn around the deck and give Jimmy a chance to tell Hawk about his other excursions, which I know nothing of." He tapped his nose with a conspiratorial gesture, and left the saloon.
"So?" Hawkspurr queried.
McKenzie grinned. "Well sir, you of all people know my views on Communism. I just thought I'd give a wee hand to some of the more deserving would-be immigrants. I know most of the isolated landing spots over the border where it's possible to recover a package, and that's simply what I do on the side. I use regular tourist flights for reconnaissance, and to receive secret ground signals."
"I see," said Hawkspurr, "and are these extracurricular trips profitable?"
"Aye. Much as I like to help the heathens, I am a Scot and I do have heavy expenses. Mind you, I rarely get paid in cash, but I do have a rather rare and valuable collection of Chinese objets d'art."
"Not on board I hope."
"No sir. They're safely tucked away in father-in-law's vaults. I take one out and sell it in Singapore whenever I judge it safe."
"And where do your pilots fit into this scenario?"
"They don't. Strictly legitimate so that if I'm ever picked up, the business carries on as usual."
"And what about Mary?"
"She knows nothing, although she's a shrewd wee lassie and probably guesses more than I give her credit for. She actually runs the whole show from her office on the top deck."
McKenzie glanced at his watch. "In fact she'll be in radio contact with our city agent about now. Come, I'll show you, and then you can fill me in on your plans."
McKenzie led Hawkspurr up a companionway at the rear of the saloon, and they entered an office fully enclosed in Perspex, with a 360-degree panoramic view of the whole area. Mary was seated in front of a radio console listening to a disembodied voice booking a flight for 10am that morning.
Acknowledging the message, she swiveled her chair to face a computer and tapped in an entry. "Will you take this flight Jimmy? Give you a chance to show the colonel around its only two passengers."
McKenzie nodded in compliance. "That Ok with you sir?"
"Fine, thank you." Hawkspurr checked the office clock. "That gives me plenty of time to brief you regarding my plans."
Hawkspurr had spent a very enjoyable day flying with McKenzie. He could still scarcely believe the contrast from barren rocky islands in the outer waters - to the gleaming palisade of office buildings and hotels of Hong Kong's harbor front. Soaring skyscrapers and curving towers of glass and steel, most impressive of all, the 72 story Bank of China, designed by an American-Chinese architect and the world’s tallest structure outside of the USA.
Now he lay content and comfortable in his cabin below the saloon.
The whole lower deck was given over to sleeping quarters, each with an en suite bathroom, and the master cabin occupying the stern of the former barge.
In the shelter of the quiet bay the vessel lay still and calm, and Hawkspurr was about to doze off to sleep when he was disturbed by a bump - a slight alien movement. Either the wind getting up or was a large fish exploring under the hull?
He was immediately alert, the instinct that had preserved him through many campaigns prodding him to full consciousness. He lowered his feet to the floor and pulled on a tracksuit. From his holdall he took a large flashlight and moved to the door listening carefully.
Nothing stirred. He opened the door cautiously and strained his ears again. Still nothing, was he getting nervous in his old age? He grinned to himself, better trade in his bladder for a newer model.
His self-doubts disappeared in the ferocious bark and yelping of Angus somewhere above decks. He ran to the companionway leading up to the saloon, and as he pushed through the door he heard another close behind him and McKenzie’s voice softly calling.
"I'm with you sir."
They ran swiftly and silently to the exit for the main deck and the helicopter pad. Pausing together at the double doors, an unspoken acknowledgment passed between them and they sprang in unison onto the deck and without hesitation ran towards the tethered Gazelle.
The night was cloudless and still, with enough starlight for Hawkspurr to assess the situation at a glance. Crouched on top of the helicopter canopy, a figure encased in a black rubber wetsuit was tampering with the rotor head.
Near the tail fin another man clad only in black shorts and vest, was desperately trying to rid himself of the little highland terrier clamped onto his left ankle.
"Give Angus a hand Jimmy," shouted Hawkspurr, "I'll deal with the other bastard."
McKenzie launched himself at the man in shorts with a blood curdling clan war cry, and enough impetus to carry them both to the deck. The Scot landed on top, and taking the man's head in both hands smashed it into the teak with a sickening thud. Angus still hung on.
Hawkspurr had jumped for the second man's legs, but as he grabbed one, the man - with a firm grip on the rotor, lashed out with his free foot and caught Hawkspurr a glancing blow to the side of the head.
With an oath Hawkspurr fell back to the deck unable to maintain his grip on the wet rubber suit. His opponent leapt nimbly down from the aircraft on the opposite side, and with a quick glance in the direction of his unconscious comrade started for the side of the barge.
"Not so fast laddie." Shouted McKenzie, and sprinted for the man intending to execute a classic Rugby tackle. The man in black however had other ideas, and stopped in his tracks to whirl and face the Scot in a karate dachi. McKenzie ran straight into the sokuto or knife foot aimed at his solar plexus. He dropped without a sound.
However, McKenzie's action had given Hawkspurr time to regain his feet and confront the intruder. He too adopted a karate stance, and moved into the attack with his right instep lashing to the man's groin. His attempt was too hasty, and the man blocked the move with ease, sliding forward to throw two punches with his fore fists.
Unfortunately for the stranger Hawkspurr had now regained his composure, and the years of training and experience came to the fore. Bending his knees he easily blocked the man's punches and counter attacked with a spear-hand to the gut. As the man doubled over in agony, Hawkspurr finished him with a savage knife-hand delivered under the left ear.

CHAPTER SIX - Coming soon...

Published by Hawkspurr Productions for your reading pleasure and entertainment with our compliments.



"What t' bloody `ell goes on `ere?" Cory emerged from below decks with Mary at his side. In his anxiety, he lapsed into the North Country vernacular of his youth.
Hawkspurr continued the task of removing a rubber helmet from the unconscious man at his feet, before he answered. "Take at look at Jimmy please... now what do we have here?" He muttered more to himself, as the man in the wetsuit stirred and opened his eyes.
"Merde!" The intruder rubbed his neck in pain.
"Yes Chum, and you're right in it." Remarked Hawkspurr in French.
"Je ne comprends pas." The Frenchman replied sullenly.
Hawkspurr grinned without humor, surveying the tanned face cropped brown hair, and dark blue eyes. "You understand Mon Vieux, and you’re also a military man, or I'm Napoleon's Aunty."
Hawkspurr jerked the man to his feet, and with an anxious glance to where Mary was tending Jimmy, marched the man into the light of the Saloon.
In the galley he took the cord from an electric jug and forcing his captive to the floor, bound his wrists behind his back and lashed them to his ankles. The cord was barely long enough, but would suffice for the moment.
Returning to the helipad, Hawkspurr was relieved to find McKenzie sitting up on his haunches, although he was vomiting.
"No need to lay out your small kit out for inspection soldier." He joked to relieve his own tension. "You walked right into that one mate."
"Aye. Where is the bastard?"
"Safe for the time being Jimmy." Hawkspurr put a gentle hand on Mary's shoulder. "How are you bearing up Lass?"
"I'm fine Nyles, but what is this all about?"
"I'm not really sure yet, but I would appreciate it if you could crank up the blower and summon the local constabulary. I'll keep an eye on Jimmy."
As Mary left the deck, Hawkspurr turned his attention to Cory who was engaged trying to revive the still unconscious Chinese man. "Any ideas Jim?" He asked.
"Oh yes. I know this fellow well - local freelance villain who'd cut your throat for a bowl of rice. The boys will be very pleased to accommodate him in lodgings for the next few years. That's if the blighter ever comes round. He's still out cold."
Within half an hour a police launch arrived to take custody of the prisoners. Cory was still remembered and respected by the young constables, and they departed without taking detailed statements after Cory assured them that everyone involved would be available for questioning in the morning.
"Come on Jimmy. Let's get you off to bed. We'll hold the postmortem after a little more rest." Hawkspurr ordered.
"I have to check out the chopper first sir." The Scot protested.
"No." Insisted the Colonel. "Besides, the police will want to examine it for evidence."
After seeing his comrades safely to their cabins, Hawkspurr climbed into the helicopter and made himself comfortable on the rear seats. He didn't really expect any more trouble during what remained of the night but he was not about to leave the situation to chance. As he settled down he heard a scratching at the cabin door. Angus - the hero of the evening wanted to get to his accustomed bed on the pilot's seat.
Hawkspurr was wide-awake at dawn, and sat pondering the events of the earlier hours. He had hoped to leave the Colony for Borneo today, but patently that was out of the question until the local police had interviewed him. Was the sabotage attempt aimed at McKenzie's clandestine activities, or had the French Secret Service somehow got wind of his own plans?
The fact that the intruder was a French national gave credence to his intuitive belief that he himself was the target.

A tap on the cockpit, and the stirring of Angus broke Hawkspurr's reverie. He opened the hatch to Mary who presented him with a mug of tea laced with rum.
"Good morning Nyles."
"Morning Mary, and thanks. Glad to see that Jimmy has trained you in the niceties of army life."
The woman laughed. "One of the first things he taught me was how to make Sergeant-majors' tea."
"And how is the old Sergeant-major this morning?"
"A little sore and a lot angry. He thinks the Frenchman was after you which has made him more determined that your scheme will succeed."
Mary paused with a worried look on her face and placed her hand on Hawkspurr's knee. "I do hope you are doing the right thing Nyles."
Hawkspurr's features relaxed into a reckless, boyish grin. "Jimmy and I have beaten tougher nuts than these frogs Mary. Just try to think of it as part of the great game. I promise I'll bring Jimmy back to you in one piece."
Mary bestowed a quick kiss on the colonel's cheek, and hurried away without another word.
By eight o'clock the police launch had returned carrying a senior European detective, and a Chinese sergeant.
A Royal Air Force engineering officer accompanied them, and whilst the detective wrote down statements from the occupants of the barge, the flight lieutenant undertook a detailed inspection of the helicopter, and the sergeant carried out a detailed forensic examination, checking for fingerprints.
After the work was finished, the group sat in the saloon drinking coffee. McKenzie addressed himself to the air force officer. "What's the verdict Peter?"
"You were lucky Jimmy that you caught him before he could do any real damage. He obviously knew exactly what he was doing, and in my opinion the rotor head would have malfunctioned within ten minutes flying time."
The people around the table looked at each other with grim expressions, and Mary paled visibly.
"Ye gods!" Exploded Hawkspurr. "Attempted murder. But how did the DGSE (Direction Generale des Services Exterieurs - the French Secret Service operating outside of France.) get onto me so quickly? The only stranger I've spoken to was the minister in New Zealand." He turned with an enquiring look to Cory.
"Leave it with me for the time being Nyles." Cory then spoke to the detective. "Can I have a word with you outside Arthur?"
The policeman and the former chief superintendent left the room, and the engineer tapped McKenzie on the shoulder. "Come on Jimmy. I'll give you a hand to fix that rotor head, and then we'll have a wee test drive." They too left the saloon followed by the sergeant.
Mary sighed and looked at Hawkspurr. "What will you do now Nyles?"
"Forewarned is forearmed. I intend to carry on as planned, but with a little more vigilance. It looks as though I am stuck here for at least one more day. Would you rather I spent the rest of the time ashore?"
Mary was indignant. "Certainly not! Besides Jimmy would never allow it.”
"Thanks Mary, you're a brick. Would you please contact the airline and book me a seat to Kuching? I’ll probably have to go via Singapore, but I do have open flight tickets."
"No problem. When do you think the police will let you leave?"
"Good point. Perhaps we'd better wait until Jim and Arthur have finished their mysterious talk."
As if on cue, Cory and the detective entered the saloon.
“Hawk, I've decided to go back to headquarters with Arthur and speak to our colleagues in Sydney and Wellington. By the end of the day I hope to have some answers for you. I'll press charges against the Frenchman as soon as we discover his name, and Arthur has agreed to let you resume your journey. One condition. If you're needed to testify later you'll return to Hong Kong. Ok?"
"Fine with me. Many thanks Arthur."
"You're welcome Colonel. Mr Cory told me something of your plans - in strict confidence of course. There'll be nothing in my report concerning your movements and you have my whole-hearted support, just let me know if I can be of any assistance."
"Well you could try and hold that Frenchman in custody until I'm well clear of the colony."
At that moment McKenzie and the RAF officer returned looking very pleased with themselves.
"By the look on your faces you've fixed the chopper." Remarked Hawkspurr.
"Piece of cake." Grinned McKenzie.
"Right up to RAF standards." The engineer agreed.
"Great," interjected Cory, "you can save Arthur and me some time, and fly us into the city."
"Good as done Jim." McKenzie spoke to Hawkspurr. "What will you do sir?"
Hawkspurr considered for a moment. "I think I'd better stay here with Mary and try to get a reservation on a flight to Borneo. I have to locate Fab Faulconer, he's next on my list of volunteers."
"Borneo!" Jimmy and Peter exclaimed in unison, and laughed together. "No sweat," said McKenzie, "the RAF takes spares and replacements down to the Army Air Corps Flight in Brunei regularly. The CO of 66 Squadron is Bumper Burke, ex SAS. He'll remember you sir, and I can almost guarantee you a lift."
"Sounds fine, but what about the Air Force?" Hawkspurr cocked his head to one side and quizzed Arthur.
"We'll be happy to assist Colonel, I'm responsible for that flight, and I'm sure I can fix it with my commanding officer. We often take servicemen on junkets if there’s space."
"Great," answered Hawkspurr, "I'll leave the arrangements in your capable hands. I really appreciate your help."
Hawkspurr and Mary watched with some trepidation as the Gazelle lifted aloft with Jimmy and his three passengers, and they stayed silently on deck almost holding their breath, until the helicopter was well out of sight. They relaxed as they realized that the rotor head was functioning perfectly.
Hawkspurr then asked Mary if he might borrow Jimmy's SCUBA gear.
"Do you think you should dive alone Nyles?"
"I'm not going far Mary, and you can hold the safety line for me. I just want to examine the hull of the barge."
"Oh no!" Mary put both hands to her face. "Not a bomb?"
"I really don't think they would go that far my dear." Reassured Hawkspurr. "On the other hand I'm not taking anything for granted - and the exercise will do me good."
A thorough search of the hull beneath the murky waters of the bay satisfied the colonel that the barge was clean.
After putting Mary's mind at rest, he divested himself of the underwater apparatus and took a leisurely swim to the nearest shore. He was curious as to how the saboteurs had been transported to their target. He had not been aware of the sound of a motor during the night, but again he could detect no signs of unusual activity in the immediate area. He felt sure however that the pair must have had an accomplice ashore.
The ascent from the beach to an adjacent peak left Hawkspurr slightly breathless, and he sat for a full fifteen minutes surveying the surrounding countryside and keeping a watchful eye on the barge.
Content that there was no eminent threat to the vessel, he clambered down to the rocky shore and swam back to an anxious Mary.
He spent the remainder of the day in a restless mood - more impatient to be on his way than concerned, and it was a welcome relief when Mary came down from her control room to inform him that her husband and Cory were on their way back.
McKenzie was in a buoyant humor and spoke first. "The chopper's as good as new sir, and I've fixed a lift for you in a Hercules flying down to Brunei at ten hundred hours tomorrow."
"Thanks Jimmy, I have to admit that I'm keen to be on my way. To say nothing of removing the possible threat to your family." He bowed in courtly manner to Mary. "Not that I won't be sorry to leave such delightful company."
"Ignore him Mary, said Cory, "He's a smooth old blighter."
The woman crossed to Hawkspurr and took his arm. "Rubbish. You could both take a lesson or two from Nyles. He is still the most charming man I know."
"Thank you my dear, and to prove it you and I are going out on the town tonight. Wining, dining, and dancing. The question is do we let this uncouth pair join us?"
"You'd better listen to my news before you plan any celebration Hawk." Cory broke in. "I've had a very productive day at Police H.Q., thanks to my old colleagues in Australia and New Zealand."
"It seems that your cabinet minister confided in an aide, who couldn't resist boasting to a very pretty French girl at a diplomatic party in Wellington. We realize that he didn't know any details of your plan to kidnap Marfart, but the mere mention of your name was enough for the French Military Attaché to contact the DGSE. You know of course that they've kept a dossier on you since that little fracas in Algeria?"
Hawkspurr nodded his understanding.
"Well," continued Cory "it's almost certain you were picked up in Sydney and followed to Hong Kong. I'll learn more about that later."
"Damn all politicians!" Hawkspurr exploded, slamming a fist into the palm of his hand. He relaxed, looking pensive for a while and then grinned. "I've just remembered something. There was a pretty little redhead on the `plane from Australia. She was paying quite a lot of attention to me and at the time I was flattered. Ye Gods - I must be getting old!"
Cory guffawed. "I rest my case!"
After a rather more subdued evening out than he had planned, Hawkspurr bade a fond farewell to Mary and Jim Cory. McKenzie flew him to the Royal Air Force airfield at Sek Kong, where Peter Ford the Flight Engineer met him.
As he was about to board the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, he clasped McKenzie’s hands warmly in his own. "Thanks for everything Jimmy, are you sure you want to carry on with this operation? I don't believe the DGSE will retaliate once I've gone, but you have to think of your family's security."
The Scot smiled. "Cory will take good care of the lasses. Just let me know where and when you need me, I'm looking forward to sinking a dram or two with the other lads again." He rubbed his midriff. "Besides, I owe that French bastard one!"

CHAPTER SEVEN - Coming soon...

Published by Hawkspurr Productions for your reading pleasure and entertainment with our compliments.



Brunei - 5 degrees north of the Equator, and situated on the Northwest coast of the island of Borneo. When Malaya gained her independence in 1963, Brunei was the only Malay State that elected to remain a British Protectorate. More than 50% of the population are Malays, with Chinese the largest minority. Indigenous groups include Dyaks, Ibans, and Belaits.
The official language is Malay, but English is used for all official and business purposes. During the 18th Century Brunei was noted as a haven for Malay Pirates and Britain, seeking to protect her commerce in the area commenced operations against the pirates in 1849, destroying them within five years.
The flight in the Hercules from Hong Kong had taken a little under four hours, and as the four Allison T56 Turboprops coughed to their rest, the rear cargo ramp was lowered. The relative cool of the cavernous aircraft hold was instantly smothered by an insinuative invasion of hot, humid air.
Hawkspurr, although dressed in a lightweight khaki safari suit, felt the immediate prickle of perspiration on his skin.
"Come on sir." Prompted Peter Ford, who had accompanied his precious spare parts. "The Mess is air-conditioned, and we're still in time for lunch and a cold beer. After that I'll see if I can wangle you a liaison flight down to Kuching."
The young Malay pilot of the government Nomad, pointed over his port wing. "Sibu coming up sir."
Hawkspurr acknowledged with a nod of his head, peering down at the concrete buildings and wharfs set in a tangle of muddy river systems and mangrove swamps lapped by the South China Sea. Away to the west, steep rocky hills rose towards the mountainous interior covered in dense forest.
Within an hour, the twin-engine aircraft was descending over Datu Bay to the tiny airport of Kuching.
Hawkspurr relaxed in the taxi from the airport, and smiled in anticipation of the reunion with an old and trusted friend.
Doctor Harry Faulconer - better known as `Fab', from his habit as a young man of announcing himself as The Fabulous Faulconer! Fab was a New Zealander from the capital city of Wellington, and after graduating from the Medical School of Otago University in Dunedin, he had joined the Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps.
In 1955 he volunteered for the Special Air Service Regiment to serve in Malaya, where he and Hawkspurr had become firm friends. Years later when Hawkspurr commanded a mercenary unit in Africa, Faulconer joined him as the medical officer. The Doctor was now running a clinic with some assistance from the Malaysian government. He kept an office in Kuching and one in Sibu, but most of his work was carried out in the jungle longhouses of the Ibans and Dyaks.
These fierce warriors, with their beautiful almost feminine grace had endeared themselves to Faulconer whilst serving with the SAS. They formed a unit under British command designated the Sarawak Rangers, and operated as scouts and trackers for the regiment during the years of confrontation with communist terrorists in Malaya, and later against Indonesian Infiltrators along the borders of Borneo.
The taxi cruised through little streets patrolled by numerous dogs, past wooden houses on stilts sheltered by palms and ferns.
Since Hawkspurr did not know the exact location of Faulconer's clinic, the Sikh driver had decided to give the European a scenic tour.
They drove through the park alongside the ornamental lake with its contingent of tailorbirds and kingfishers busy maneuvering for their daily share of the available food.
"Very pretty." Said Hawkspurr, and leaned forward to tap the driver on his shoulder. He spoke in fluent Malay, "If you don't take me immediately to the Tuan Doctor's house, I shall ram your turban down your throat and then remove it through the lowest orifice. Do you understand?"
The Indian swallowed, and exerted a little more pressure with his bare toe onto the accelerator. "Yes Tuan. Yes."
Faulconer's clinic and quarters were housed in the ground floor of a white concrete building.
The remaining upper floors belonged to a private hotel, and judging by the number of pretty Malay and Chinese girls leaning out of windows and parading at the entrance, obviously the establishment also served another older function. Unless of course it was a finishing school for young ladies!
Hawkspurr grinned and waved up to the girls ignoring their various promotional salutations. Yet another lovely woman, this one wearing the crisp white uniform of a nurse, greeted him inside the clinic.
She was grave of demeanor, and petite. Shining black hair pulled severely back like a raven's wing crowned a glowing caramel brown skin, but with neither Indian Malay heritage. It was most unusual to find a sophisticated Iban in a township.
"Colonel Hawkspurr." She stated. "I am Jena, welcome to Kuching. I have been expecting you, but I was not sure of the day of your arrival. I am sorry that I was not at the airport to greet you."
"Thank you Jena, that is very kind of you. Now where is my old friend the Doctor?"
"Again I must apologize colonel. A message arrived early this morning that the Doctor is delayed up river with a very sick woman. In fact I have to arrange for an airdrop of blood plasma to him as soon as possible."
"Damn. I don't have time to sit around here." Hawkspurr mentally weighed his alternatives. "I'll simply have to go to him. Who’s responsible for the airdrop?"
"Tuan McEwan. He is a charter pilot, and good friend of the doctor. I am unable to reach him at present, but he is expected back from a flight by four o'clock this afternoon."
Hawkspurr looked at his watch. "Well there's not much I can do until then. Is there somewhere handy where I can get a meal?"
"Of course. Please come with me."
Hawkspurr followed the woman through a door at the rear of the surgery - admiring at the same time the undulating movement of the starched skirt flowing in front of him.
The room was painted white throughout, and overhead a fan revolved quietly keeping the air moving and relatively cool. The furnishings were of rattan cane with a scattering of colorful cushions, and the walls were adorned with bright prints of jungle birds.
"You will find a beer to your liking in the refrigerator under the counter colonel." Jena indicated the varnished bamboo bar in one corner with an inclination of her head, and disappeared through a curtain of glass beads into an adjoining room.
San Miguel. Hawkspurr read the label and chuckled to himself as he removed a chilled bottle from the cabinet. Old Fab had not forgotten the many happy occasions, when they had sampled the delicious Philippine beer together. He seated himself in a comfortable chair at the glass topped table, and started to browse through a photograph album obviously left for his attention. Fab had always been a prolific photographer, and the old black and white snaps took the colonel back in time.
"Hell. Were we ever that young and slim?" He thought to himself, as half remembered faces stared back at him.
Alert men in sweat stained uniforms, who carried weapons like an extension of their bodies. Then the laughing photo's, taken in many bars and pubs around the world. The men were clean and smart, in uniforms proudly carrying their badges and medal ribbons. The camaraderie and warmth between them emanated from the old flat pictures, but even though they smiled the laughter did not always reach the ever-watchful eyes. Men such as these courted danger, and lived life to the full. The ranks were thinner now, but the memories remained.
Hawkspurr raised his glass in salute.
"Will cold chicken and fresh fruit suffice for now Colonel? I will cook for you this evening." Jena had returned silently from the kitchen.
"Perfect. Thank you Jena, and please call me Nyles or Hawk."
The girl smiled shyly. "I will call you Hawk – as does my father and the doctor."
Hawkspurr looked puzzled. "Your father?"
"Yes. I am the daughter of Jabeh."
"Good heavens. I thought you looked familiar, but I never associated you with that old villain. Do you know he was my tracker in Malaya?"
"Of course. He speaks of you many times, with love - and the battles you won together."
Hawkspurr grinned. "No doubt he expands on those a little."
"You can ask him for yourself. The doctor is with him in his longhouse now."
Jena pointed to another door. "Come. I will show you to your room, you have time to bathe before we go to see McEwan."
Jena drove Hawkspurr to the airport in the clinic's ancient Land Rover, which was fitted as a two-stretcher ambulance and painted white. Hawkspurr was sorely tempted to switch on the siren, but a disapproving look from the girl stifled his intentions as his hand moved towards the switch.
Tom McEwan proved to be a friendly lanky Canadian, and the proud owner of an amphibious De Havilland Twin Otter. "I used to be a bush pilot out of Whitehorse, in the Yukon." He drawled. "But as I got older the winters got colder - so like the birds, I flew south."
After Jena had explained the doctor's requirements, Hawkspurr took the pilot to one side. "I hate to impose, but I really don't have time to wait for Fab, or to trek into the bush."
The Canadian stopped Hawkspurr with a grin and a raised hand. "Hold your horses Hawk. I heard all about you from Fab, and Jena's old man. I can guess what you're going to ask - and the answer's yes."
"You mean you'll drop me in with the package?" Hawkspurr asked.
"Bet your wings I will. C'mon over to the hanger. Some of the local expatriates like to parachute for fun on weekends, and we’ve got a range of 'chutes right here. I'll fix you up with one for a static-line drop, but of course I'll have to ask you to replace it if you damage it, or can't bring it out with you. Ok?"
"Bloody marvelous. And thank you." Hawkspurr slapped the tall man on the back.
Hawkspurr lay naked under the mosquito netting of a comfortable bed. The bamboo blinds covering the windows were up, and a faint night breeze gave some little relief from the still stifling heat.
He was replete from a wonderful meal cooked by Jena earlier in the evening consisting of local fish with mushrooms and pickled vegetables, and a Malay beef satay. She had even presented one of Fab's favorite New Zealand wines, hoarded against special occasions - a Morton Estate Chardonnay.
As he was about to doze off, a slight change in air pressure alerted him. He braced himself as the louvered door swung silently open and bare feet whispered on the sea grass matting.
His right hand edged towards the pistol holster taped to the bed rails at arms length, and his fingers closed on the butt of a .38 caliber pistol borrowed earlier from his friend's gun cabinet. Faulconer may live by the Hippocratic oath, but he was also a practical survivor.
Then - as a slim brown hand reached out to lift the protective net from his resting place, he relaxed with a grin. He had caught the wisp of a rare jungle fragrance - Jena.
"Jena!" He tried to sound stern, but his voice collapsed into a hoarse whisper. "What are you doing here?"
"Would you have me disobey my beloved father Hawk?" She replied with a hint of a giggle.
Jena slipped into bed beside Hawkspurr, and started to kiss him gently on his neck and shoulders. "My father is the Headman and I must obey him. It is his wish that I serve his old friend in every way." She bit sharply into Hawkspurr's stomach with a tinkling laugh.
"Who am I to bring trouble on a dutiful daughter?" Hawkspurr answered as he caressed the young, firm body moving against him.
His eyes closed in ecstasy at the feel of cool silken skin and, warm moist lips. One cannot fight every situation – he surrendered himself to the moment.
Hawkspurr awoke as the first fingers of dawn fell upon the long black tresses draped across his chest. He carefully moved Jena's head onto the pillow, and gazed down on her. She was truly a beautiful child of the jungle, with her unspoilt face and the natural grace of body and carriage that is synonymous with a people who spend their life naked and unashamed.
He gently kissed her lips, and then slipped quietly away to the bathing room. Although Faulconer had installed a shower, Hawkspurr preferred the Malay method of bathing, with a huge tiled tub of water and a ladle. He dipped cool water from the reservoir, and poured it over his head and body savoring the refreshing deluge.
He was so engrossed with his ablutions, that he did not notice Jena enter the room until experienced hands started to soap his back.
"You’re spoiling me Jena." He exclaimed.
"Do I not please you Hawk?"
"Yes, you please me greatly, and I will tell your villainous father so. Now go and prepare breakfast, we have to get to the airport."
She lingered. "Will I serve you again when you return from my father's longhouse?"
Hawkspurr smiled down on the girl and mimicked Tom McEwan's Canadian accent. "Bet your wings you will."

Tom McEwan was carrying out his routine morning check on the Otter, when Hawkspurr and Jena arrived at the airfield. A Chinese mechanic had just finished removing the auxiliary door adjacent to the fuselage steps, but Jena was unable to wait and after a brief damp eyed farewell drove away.
McEwan stared after the departing Land rover. "Morning Hawk, there goes a great gal. Do you know she was the first of her tribe to study as a nurse?"
"No," replied Hawkspurr, "but I guess Fab had something to do with that?"
"Damn right he did. Those Ibans worship the guy." McEwan grinned, "Mind you there's a few light skinned kids running round those long-houses out there." He nodded to the east in general.
Hawkspurr laughed. "I don't doubt it for a moment. Come on, let's get on with it."
"Roger. Your parachute's inside, do you want a foot rest attached outside the door or will you exit military style?"
"Straight out. I might change my mind."
"No sweat." McEwan assented. "Lok here will assist you."
"Good morning Lok." Hawkspurr shook hands with the solemn faced young Chinese mechanic.
"Good morning Sir. I have the blood plasma aboard in an insulated container. Will you carry it? It will save an extra pass over the D.Z."
"Certainly. Can you secure it to my chest?"
Lok nodded. "Yes, I have a special pack."
"Ok let's go."
"Sit up front with me Hawk, I have to put down at Simanggang to refuel before the last leg. This trip's right on the edge of my range, in fact there'll only be time for one pass over the area for you to check the drop zone and to alert Fab. Ok?"
First one, then the second of the Pratt & Whitney turboprops burst into life as McEwan ran smoothly through his pre flight checks from a card.

The 65-foot wingspan of the Otter grabbed at the humid atmosphere and was airborne displaying her remarkable STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) capabilities.
Hawkspurr relaxed in the hands of an expert.
By 0900 hours they were lifting out of Simanggang and climbing towards the Upper Kapuas Mountains with the Indonesian border off their starboard wing.
Hawkspurr unfastened his seat belt, and crouched to pat the pilot on his shoulder.
"I'm going back now Tom. All being well I'll see you at the Sibu wharf tomorrow evening. Thanks again for the ride."
Hawkspurr removed his headset, and made his way amidships to where Lok was waiting for him. The air was a little bumpy now as they flew over the headwaters of the Katibas River, and he steadied himself against a seat as Lok helped him into the parachute, and fastened the blood plasma pack to the chest harness.
The once familiar smell of the air-conditioned parachute nylon and canvas and the reassuring click of the buckle brought back poignant memories. He had declined a reserve `chute, as in the early days of SAS parachuting in Malaya.
Then the Regiment had pioneered the technique of dropping into the treetops equipped with full Bergen pack, weapons, and abseil bag strapped to the leg. The bag contained a length of 200 odd feet of webbing strap, which passed through a metal ring on a canvas bikini worn under the parachute harness.
Ideally, the parachutist steered for a suitable tree, and with the Bergen under his feet, crossed his arms over his face for protection. Most men compromised by closing their eyes tightly, and placed the hands firmly in a more strategic area between the legs!
The theory was for the canopy to catch somewhere in the branches of the average 200feet high tree. The soldier then released the harness buckle, and after removing his weapon from the bag lowered himself to the ground, ready for action. However, in practice it was quite common for the man to crash right through to the ground.
Lok fastened the hook of Hawkspurr's parachute static line, to the reinforced anchor point on the frame of the fuselage. "Ok sir?"
Hawkspurr gave the line a hard tug to reassure himself. "Ok!"
He moved to the door and positioned his body for exit, a hand on each edge of the aperture. Leaning forward slightly, he could feel the slipstream on his face, and looking down saw only the varied greens of endless species of trees.
From this height they deceptively appeared to be constructed of a cotton wool substance. He smiled sardonically, recalling the derisive cry of the veteran SAS jumper to the novice paratrooper: "Get some twigs up your ass!"
Hawkspurr heard the twin motors throttle back, and felt the aircraft change attitude to lose height. Below, a slash in the jungle opened where streams emptied into a rocky gully. Here waters tumbled and combined at the very birth of a mighty river, which would inevitably lose its identity in the sea.
Seconds later a cluster of longhouses, standing back on high ground came into view. Some two hundred meters away was a clearing half the size of a football pitch.
"Hell", thought Hawkspurr "I've fallen out of bigger beds than that!"
He felt a restraining hand on his shoulder as Lok indicated that this was a dummy pass. Figures appeared on the ground running from the riverbank and the structures, waving upwards. The Otter banked steeply and Lok held on tighter to Hawkspurr's harness, as they turned for the final approach.
The aircraft steadied, and the engines cut to a whisper. Lok was listening intently in his headset. "Go!" He screamed, slapping Hawkspurr on his borrowed helmet.
A split second grip of apprehension in the gut, and Hawkspurr propelled himself forward through the door. As his hands released their grip on the exit, he clasped them firmly across the chest pack containing the plasma, and clamped his feet and knees tightly together.
He was conscious of the shadow of the tailplane, the rush of the slipstream, and pleasurable thrill of falling free.
He heard the roar of engines, as McEwan pulled his craft up and clear of the dropping zone.
He felt the ties securing the pack popping, as his parachute was tugged from his back by the static line. Then the comforting thwack! as the canopy developed and took his weight.
He glanced up to check that all was well with the rigging lines, and satisfied that nothing was twisted looked down to confirm his position.
By now he was within 500 feet of the ground, and estimated that a northerly breeze was drifting him too far back - to the southern perimeter of trees in the jungle clearing. Reaching up with both hands, Hawkspurr grasped the front risers and pulled firmly down. The action spilled air from the rear of the canopy and his forward speed increased.
Now the earth was rushing to meet him, and content that he was on target Hawkspurr changed his grip to the back lines, and heaved down again to utilize the canopy as a brake. He was descending a little fast, but forward and slightly left.
The old commands ran through his head: feet and knees together, elbows in, head tucked down. Thump! His boots hit the ground, and he rolled onto leg, thigh, and back. Made it!
He sprang to his feet with a jubilant yell and collapsed the billowing parachute. "Bloody marvelous." He congratulated himself. "There’s life in the old dog yet."
Naked, laughing, chattering little beings suddenly surrounded Hawkspurr. Eager hands were trying to remove his harness, and the children shrieked with delight as he twisted the buckle and gave it a sharp blow, causing the straps to fall off. Looking round he selected one of the bigger boys, and passed over the precious blood plasma.
"Take this to the Tuan Doctor please - and quickly."
"Yes Tuan, yes Tuan." He nodded profusely, beaming with pride.
Peeling off his borrowed - and rather tight overalls in the oppressive heat Hawkspurr scratched surreptitiously at his crotch.
“Boy, that's a relief." He muttered.
Before making his way to the group of adults standing politely at one side of the DZ, he paused to supervise the boys who had elected to take charge of the parachute, and showed them how to roll it correctly.
"Well done lads, try and keep it dry Ok?"
"Ok Tuan!" They chorused.

CHAPTER EIGHT - Coming soon....



Hawkspurr straightened the old jungle green uniform he was wearing as best he could, and started towards the waiting Ibans. He glanced sky-wards but Tom McEwan was out of sight and earshot; with his relatively limited range he could not afford to linger over the jungle.
There were a dozen men waiting to greet him at the path that opened into the dense bush, and led to the longhouse. In the center stood the headman Jabeh, dressed in old army shorts adorned with a traditional ornamental belt from which hung a ceremonial parang (machete).
Hawkspurr was unable to suppress a wide smile of pleasure at seeing an old friend, and the serious demeanor of these diminutive warriors cracked also.
Hawkspurr had already recognized two former members of the Sarawak Rangers, whom he had recruited personally.
Jabeh advanced and offered Hawkspurr a bowl of Tuak. His welcoming grin spread further across his features as Hawkspurr remembered to spill a quantity of the rice wine onto the ground, in a gesture to appease the spirits.
Hawkspurr swallowed the remaining Tuak and handed the bowl to one of the Headman's subordinates.
"Terima Kasih - thank you."
The ritual over, he turned to Jabeh and grasped his hands. "Hello you old pirate. I'm told by your daughter that you are now the Tuai Rumah, The Lord of the House." He tapped the long knife at Jabeh's side. "You still cutting off Indonesian heads?"
"No Tuan Hawk, it is forbidden." Jabeh attempted to look serious again, and held up his hands for Hawkspurr to examine. "See. No fresh tattoos."
Hawkspurr touched the finger joints, each individually marked, and each representing a head taken in battle.
"No. Because there is no space left."
Jabeh caressed the tattoo on the front of his throat- the tribal mark of all males, and looked up slyly at Hawkspurr.
"Perhaps now that the Tuan is no longer in the army he too will take the mark of the warrior?"
"No thank you, and don't try getting me pissed to agree. I haven't forgotten your last attempt." He turned to the other men, "Hello Kela, and Siti - isn't it?"
"You haven't forgotten us either Tuan." They spoke with pride.
"How could I forget my brothers? Did we not patrol the mighty waters of the Rajang together, and bring confusion to the enemy?"
"Ya! Ya!" They laughed.
"Come, please take me to the Tuan Doctor. I have little time."
Jabeh led the way through the stands of huge oaks and chestnuts - the only two Hawkspurr could name of some fifty different species of timber trees said to grow here. They were draped with curtains of creepers some stems as thick as a leg.
Hidden in the tops would be squirrels, gibbons, and other monkeys, even possibly the popular Orang Utang (Man of the Jungle); and flying snakes with their flattened bellies as they glided through the air from branch to branch. This land teemed with every form of life from elephant to pig, deer, bear, tiger; to say nothing of the ants, centipedes, scorpions, ticks, leeches - and the dreaded hornets, the only thing on earth that can scatter an SAS patrol in fear. Even the cobras, vipers, kraits, Malay racers, and coral snakes did not warrant the same respect as the winged demons.
The track that resembled an oppressive tunnel opened onto the cleared slopes above the river, and there stood the village. Basically it was one long house under a single roof, with some other structures scattered around. The longhouse was on stilts some fifteen feet off the ground; build of poles, planks, and bamboo, with atap leaves for roofing.
Wide irregular platforms of split bamboo were open to the sky, and mothers squatted here to play with infants or gossip. Young men sat carefully grooming their straight black hair, cut with a fringe high on the forehead.
Since they are a beardless race, they carefully pull any solitary hairs from their face with bamboo tweezers.
On another section, a warrior was having an intricate tattoo created with a dye of soot and sweet water, and punched into his thigh by an artist wielding a bamboo needle and hammer. Such vanity.
The women were stunning, with bare breasts and colorful sarongs reaching to the ground. Their regular features, and dark honey complexions were framed in long shining tresses, parted in the center and secured with a single headband. Both males and females were bedecked with necklaces, and bangles on arms and legs. All had their ear lobes perforated into loops - even very young children - from which hung more ornamentation.
As Hawkspurr climbed the steps to the accompaniment of cries of welcome, he heard another familiar sound - the double hoot of a monkey -the SAS call of jungle recognition.
Through a doorway, appeared the tall strong figure of Doctor Harry Faulconer. The intimidation of broken nose and cauliflower ears was alleviated by a warm affectionate smile that reached up to the twinkling brown eyes. The brown hair was heavily streaked with gray now, but that was the only outward sign of age in the old Rugby playing New Zealander.
"Gooday Hawk. Aren't you a bit long in the tooth to be dropping out of airplanes?"
"Get stuffed. Was the plasma Ok?"
"Yes thanks mate, you literally saved a life. Come and see the patient."
Faulconer led the way back into the longhouse, the casualness of their meeting highlighted the special bond the two men enjoyed; they had not seen each other for three years.
Inside the building, and running throughout the center of its length was a dividing wall.
Doors opened into the far side of the partition, which housed the families. The open side served as quarters for the tribal bachelors and visitors, and the communal meeting place.
Hawkspurr followed the doctor into one section where a woman lay on a camp stretcher, with a drip entering her arm. Falconer bent over his patient for a moment, and then straightened with a satisfied grunt.
"Good, she's sleeping quietly. I very nearly lost her, she had a miscarriage and massive hemorrhage."
"Is this sort of thing common?" Hawkspurr asked.
"No thank god, they're a pretty tough breed. Barring the odd accident, disease is my main concern. In this land of plenty there are also some 1700 species of parasitic worms. There's Amoebic and Bacillary Dysentery, Yellow Fever, Blackwater, Dengue, and Typhoid. Malaria, Cholera, Hepatitis, and Tuberculosis. Shall I go on?"
"No thanks. Got any medicinal brandy?"
The doctor laughed. "Sure, come into my surgery." He pushed a hanging blanket to one side and ushered Hawkspurr into a small room equipped with another cot, rough table, and the only chair to be found in the longhouse. Crude shelves carried a variety of medications and instruments.
"Not exactly the Mayo Clinic but welcome." Faulconer poured two stiff glasses of brandy, and sat on the bed. "Grab a pew Hawk, and tell me what you're up to. The message I received only said to expect you. Sorry I wasn't in Kuching to meet you by the way."
"No problem Fab, I was well looked after by Jena."
"I bet you were! Thanks to her dad's yarns, she was expecting a knight on a bloody white horse."
Hawkspurr grinned. "Well there's still a little temper left in the old lance yet!"
After relating the incident in Hong Kong, Hawkspurr outlined his plans for the kidnap and subsequent return of Marfart to New Zealand.
Faulconer listened quietly until his friend had finished. "Sounds good, and god knows I need a break. I can easily arrange for a Malay locum to take the clinics in Kuching and Sibu." He paused. "You know I haven't seen my old Mum for three years?"
"She told me when I telephoned her in Karori before I left Wellington. She sends her love and expects to see you very soon, she's also got a few nice Kiwi lasses lined up for the marriage stakes."
Hawkspurr sat deep in thought for a few minutes. "I don't think I've left anything out, but will there be a problem getting the drugs you need. I want to keep Marfart conscious, but compliant throughout the operation?"
Faulconer answered with a shake of his head. "No problem. I've a pal in Guy's hospital in London who does the odd job for Special Branch. He'll co-operate, I'm sure."
"Great. Well, I have to meet Tom McEwan in Sibu tomorrow night. If I remember from the old days, it shouldn't be hard to get down river in time if I leave in the morning."
"No, not when you see the size of Jabeh's new outboard motor." Replied Faulconer. "Let's go talk to him."
During the day hunters and fishermen went off, and later returned with their catch of fresh fish, pig and deer. Hawkspurr was a little sad to see that the young warriors favored shotguns now - forsaking their ancient weapons the spear and blowpipe, except for the invaluable long knife - the Parang.
Young girls brought fresh water up from the river in bamboo containers, whilst others gathered the indigenous fruits of coconut, oranges, bananas and mango. Older women squatted, cooking pots of rice and meat.
A festive air pervaded the whole community - these kindly, cheerful people were happy to be preparing a party for their doctor and his honored guest.
Before the festivities commenced, Jabeh took Hawkspurr to the sacred spirit house, where the skulls of enemies - old and new - hung from the roof in rattan nets. Here they communed quietly together, remembering their own dead lost in battle.
As dusk fell the villagers gathered in the longhouse and started to feast. Jars of rice wine passed around and the men plied Hawkspurr and Faulconer with the lethal rice brandy, Arak.
They sat on richly decorated blankets dyed brown with bark and were presented with an endless offering of rice cakes, puffed rice, sticky rice, meat dishes, fish dishes, fruit, and bowls of precious salt.
Dancers entertained them, and a mock wrestling match was the highlight of the festivities.
Everybody had a story to relate, and Hawkspurr told of the young Jabeh in Malaya. In his first action against the Chinese Terrorists with Hawkspurr, he became so excited that he dropped his rifle and leapt into the attack with swinging Parang. A fearsome sight!
Hawkspurr also told of the time that Jabeh saved him from the deadly bite of a cobra. They had been following a narrow track through the jungle, and Hawkspurr was stumbling along sick with Malaria. Suddenly the snake reared up in Hawkspurr's path, but as the troop leader faltered Jabeh sprang round him and with one slash of his faithful parang removed the reptile's hooded head. The villagers cheered their gallant headman.
Jabeh in turn told how he was trying to teach SAS Troopers to fish with a spear, when they showed him a more efficient method - hand grenades. "Boom!" He mimed, throwing a bowl of water into the air. "Plenty fish."
Then he claimed, the soldiers had told him that the best way to catch fish silently was to hang your cock in the water. When the fish bites, you pull it onto the bank and cut off its head with a machete. His people rolled on the floor in hysterical laughter, shouting ribald remarks.
Then it was the Europeans turn to perform. Hawkspurr and Faulconer solemnly and drunkenly, sang the Woodpecker song.
Almost in unison, and in a mixture of Malay and English with the appropriate actions, they intoned to the tune of Dixie:
"Oh, I stuck my finger in the woodpecker's hole and woodpecker said god bless my soul - take it out, take it out - reee...move it!"
As verse followed verse and the two became almost unintelligible, the Ibans roared for more until finally the entertainers collapsed begging for water. Hawkspurr remembered no more of that night.
He awoke with the dawn, still tired and with a mouth like the proverbial bottom of a monkey's cage. He was fortunate to find fresh oranges to hand and these, with a couple of rice cakes served to revive him a little. He walked unsteadily down to the river, and after a careful search for crocodiles immersed his aching head and body beneath the soothing waters.
The total population of the longhouse - some two hundred, men, women and children - turned out to farewell the departing Hawkspurr, and presents of food wrapped in leaves, and a beautiful necklace were handed to him.
Jabeh had extracted a promise that Tuan Hawk would return and spend a holiday, hunting with him. More tuak was drunk, and it was with a sense of relief tinged with sadness that Hawkspurr climbed into the dugout canoe for his journey west. Jabeh could not leave his people, but had donated his pride and joy, and three boatmen for the trip to Sibu.
The canoe was thirty feet long, cut from a single trunk, and equipped with a 40-horse power Johnson outboard. Apart from a space for Hawkspurr in the center the narrow vessel was loaded with fruit to sell in the market at Sibu.
Two of the crew manned long bamboo poles in the front of the canoe, and the third steered with the motor. One of the men sat forward, perched precariously out on the long overhanging prow of the canoe to spot rocks or snags, and fend them off.
With a throaty roar from the motor and the cheers of the villagers, the canoe shot out to midstream.
Falconer would follow in a day or two after ensuring hat his patient was recovering. He would meet up with Hawkspurr again after a quick visit to his home in New Zealand.
Hawkspurr dozed most of the day as they sped downstream, through primeval jungle that crowded to the waters' edge. On occasions they had to manhandle the canoe through shallow rapids. Herons and sandpipers abounded along their passage, and crocodiles were spotted sunbathing on mud banks mouths wide open to cool off, with tiny cheeky birds skittered in and out picking food from the fearsome teeth.
As the river widened to a mighty thoroughfare, they encountered tugs and log barges making for the timber ships, waiting to load at Sibu. Upcountry Dyaks waved and shouted their greetings as they paddled past them on their way home, having sold their goods in the markets of Sibu or Kuching.
Hawkspurr's crew pointed and laughed at a small for with its cannon, set on a high bank. "They were built to stop our great-grand fathers raiding in their canoes." They chortled.
At the wharf, Hawkspurr thanked the young Ibans for a safe, fast journey and gave them each a tin of English cigarettes, thoughtfully provided by Faulconer.
As Hawkspurr walked slowly along looking for Tom McEwan or the Otter, an elderly Malay approached him from the Customs Department. "Colonel Hawkspurr? Welcome to Sibu. I have just received a message that Tuan McEwan is on his way here. It appears that you have made very good time coming down river."
"Yes", replied Hawkspurr, "and thank you."
He accepted an invitation to take tea with the official, and settled down to wait the arrival of the aircraft.
McEwan called in by radio on his approach to Sibu, and Hawkspurr was ready and waiting for him at the landing jetty used by floatplanes. Lok passed out some mail packages for Sibu but the pilot did not switch off his motors.
As soon as the door was secured behind Hawkspurr, McEwan taxied away for takeoff. Lok ushered Hawkspurr forward to the co-pilot's seat and handed him a headset. McEwan stretched an arm across to shake his hand, but did not take his eyes from the water.
"How was it Hawk? I couldn't hang around to see your landing, but I guess you hit the spot."
"Bang on thanks, and as we say - any jump you walk away from is a good one."
"Right on." McEwan acknowledged. "Now listen up. Jena has booked you an evening flight to Singapore, with a stopover at the Sheraton Hotel. Tomorrow morning you'll be on your way to Kenya via Calcutta flying Air India. Ok?"
"That sounds fine. Sorry to have to rush it all."
Hawkspurr fell silent, as McEwan eased his plane off the river and was airborne.
The Canadian relaxed. "I understand, just wish I were coming with you. Jena will meet us at the airfield with your gear, and you can change in my office."
Both men lapsed into a companionable silence, each busy with their own thoughts.
Hawkspurr was looking down at the land, and thinking of another English officer who had served here over a hundred years ago.
Sir James Brooke, who in 1841 had suppressed piracy in the area, and framed a new code of laws, in return he was rewarded with the Governorship of Sarawak, and the title of Rajah.

CHAPTER NINE - Coming soon...

Published by Hawkspurr Productions for your reading pleasure and entertainment with our compliments



Hawkspurr fastened his seat belt, sat back and promptly fell asleep. The pretty Malay hostess carrying out her final inspection before take-off smiled indulgently, and placed a pillow beneath his head. Such was Hawkspurr's exhaustion that he neither woke nor stirred until roused by the girl on the approach to Singapore.
On arrival at Changi Airport he was met by a representative of the hotel, and driven to the Century Park Sheraton. Hawkspurr's room was on the 14th floor and commanded a magnificent view of the city, but after a cursory glance from the window he took a brandy from the mini bar and retired to the bathroom. He later dined in the grillroom, and went to his bed early, but before falling into a deep sleep he thought tenderly of Jena.
Next morning refreshed and returned to his normal vitality, Hawkspurr enjoyed an athletic workout in the facilities of the hotel health center before devouring a hearty breakfast. He had barely finished his meal, when an Air India representative collected him for transfer back to the airport.
Although feeling somewhat paranoid he had allowed his beard to grow after leaving Hong Kong, it wasn’t much of a disguise but he was aware that agents of the DGSE might attempt to track his movements. After all Singapore was the logical departure point for anyone traveling on to Europe.
Next call Nairobi and William Kirk McDonald, professional safari hunter better known in military circles as Evil Billy. McDonald was a West Australian and former army sergeant, who had served with the Royal Australian Artillery in Korea, and then in Hawkspurr's SAS troop in Malaya. Like Faulconer, he had later joined Hawkspurr in Africa to fight as a mercenary.
After a clandestine operation against the Mau Mau in Kenya, MacDonald had decided to return to that lovely country and make a new career for himself. He was now a citizen and although hunting was banned, still conducted photographic safaris into the bush he knew so well.
At the airport Hawkspurr checked in and was allotted a seat number. He then surreptitiously surveyed his fellow travelers, he did not rule out Asians knowing that the French Secret Service had far reaching tentacles, and even attractive women were subjected to more that just his normal, interested scrutiny.
Putting himself mentally in the position of pursuer he concluded that an observer would report ahead to Calcutta, the first destination point of the Air India flight. From then on they could monitor his movements with ease, but it was unlikely that an agent would try to obtain a seat on this plane. If another attempt were to be made on his life, a local would be less conspicuous.
Hawkspurr had cabled MacDonald his flight number and estimated time of arrival in Nairobi, but felt it not expedient to include any specific warning. He had however added the code word Kukri, this private signal would alert the former sergeant that trouble could be expected.
During the six hour flight to Calcutta Hawkspurr ate and slept, and was careful not to drink any alcohol, knowing that this would only aggravate jet lag by the time he landed in Kenya.
Several passengers disembarked in India, but only two businessmen filled their places. Leaving Calcutta for the longer haul across the continent and Arabian Sea Hawkspurr had the luxury of three empty seats next to him, and after yet another meal he stretched out and slept again, following the soldiers' adage ‘in bed or out of barracks’; in other words, sleep whenever you can.
Soon after dawn and a very early breakfast the Boeing entered Kenyan air space crossing the coastal forests of mangrove, palm, teak and sandalwood. Away to the southwest in Tanzania, the isolated mass of Africa's highest mountain reared 19,340 feet above the land, it's twin volcanic peaks capped with snow - Kilimanjaro.

260 miles inland, and standing on the Athi plains at 5,500 feet above sea level was Hawkspurr's destination Nairobi, the capital city and probably Africa's busiest airport.
Clearly visible to the north of the city, the extinct volcano of Mount Kenya thrust towards the sky, at 17,058 feet the second highest mountain in the continent.
MacDonald's powerful figure stood out amongst the small crowd of Europeans, Asians, and Africans gathered to meet friends and relatives arriving on the early morning plane. As soon as he spotted Hawkspurr, he removed his Australian bush hat and waving it over his bald head, emitting an earsplitting "Cooeee!" A huge handlebar moustache compensated for the bareness of his pate, and the deeply tanned features were wreathed in a grin that displayed the teeth of a small horse.
The big Australian was waiting at the barrier as Hawkspurr cleared Customs. "Bloody good to see you Hawk, how long you staying?" He pumped Hawkspurr's hand vigorously, but gave him no time to answer as he turned to the tall Kikuyu at his shoulder. "Heh Gati. Get the Colonel's bag."
"Ndio Abandi - yes sir." Gati came forward smiling and took the holdall from Hawkspurr's hand.
He stood to attention and said proudly in good English, "I was a corporal sir, in the King's African Rifles. Do you have other baggage?"
"No thank you Corporal, that's the lot. Well done."
Hawkspurr turned back to MacDonald. "You're looking fit Billy, how's life treating you?"
"I can't complain Hawk. Although a different breed want to go bush now - bloody cameras and no guns. Dull lot, but they've still got to be guarded and fed." He gave a dry laugh. "Of course, a bad tempered buffalo doesn't give a stuff whether you're pointing a lens or a barrel at him. He just wants your ass."
"I hope I haven't taken you away from your work Billy, but I do need to talk to you, and I'm pushed for time."
"She's right Hawk. I've got a party up in the Aberdares, but they're having a rest day and there's a good boy with them." MacDonald assured him.
"Fine, but hold up a minute." He restrained MacDonald with a hand on his arm. "Have a casual look around, and tell me if you see anyone that might be observing us."
Unobtrusively, MacDonald scanned the area around them. "Yeah. There's a couple o' dodgy looking jokers paying you a bit of attention. Trouble?"
"There could be, I'll explain shortly." Hawkspurr answered.
"C'mon then. I've got a Cessna waiting for us outside the domestic terminal."
MacDonald called Gati to him, and they conversed quietly in Swahili. The Kikuyu handed Hawkspurr's bag to him, and walked casually away.
"Follow me sir." The former sergeant ordered.
"Sir!" Thought Hawkspurr with surprise - it was rare to get a Sir from MacDonald even when they were serving together.
MacDonald ushered Hawkspurr into 404 Titan, and went forward to the pilot already seated at the controls. After a few seconds he returned and sat down next to Hawkspurr. "Jeff'll take off immediately." He stated.
"What about your man?" Hawkspurr asked.
"Old Gati will catch a train home once he's checked out those characters in the airport, don't worry about him just give me the latest intel. I knew you were up to something when I read Kukri in the cable."
Once the twin engine Cessna was cruising, Hawkspurr told MacDonald of his plans, and his suspicion that he was now under surveillance.
The Australian became more excited and eager. "You beauty. Just what I need - when do we go?"
Hawkspurr was quiet for a while before replying. "I have to speak to John Sutton in Cyprus, and then I think I’d better review my situation."
"I did intend to go on to Paris, but in view of recent events I'll handle that aspect by telephone. We can tie up the loose ends when we reach England." He paused, "Do you think you can be ready in a week?"
"Too bloody right I can! What do you say to a couple of days in the bush? Get the kinks out of old back."
Hawkspurr hesitated, and then grinned. "Why not, we can reminisce as to how we finished off the dreaded Mau Mau, practically alone!"
"Sure thing." MacDonald agreed. "In fact you'll see the remains of one of the camps we hit. Real tourist attraction, along with a bit of bullshit from me."
After flying inland for about an hour the air taxi descended over the village of Solai, and landed on a private airstrip used mainly for tourists. MacDonald led the way to a long-wheel-base Land Rover which was completely enclosed with a strong steel cage, covered overhead with canvas. The bodywork was painted in leopard stripes, and a logo on the doors proclaimed MacDonald Safaris surmounting a crossed rifle and spear.
MacDonald caught the amused smile on Hawkspurr's face, and remarked defensively, "Yeah, she's a bit bloody corny, but it's what the galahs expect."
"Charming Billy. Utterly charming."
"Up yours too." Retorted MacDonald with a grin.
They drove to the outskirts of the settlement, where MacDonald braked outside iron gates set in a high wire mesh fence. He gave a toot on the horn, and the gates were opened by a slim Kikuyu woman who greeted them a cheery wave.
"Gati's old lady." MacDonald explained.
"Do you always maintain some security?" Enquired a curious Hawkspurr.
"Too bloody right. You never know who's got a long memory, do you?"
"Absolutely." Hawkspurr agreed, thinking of his own isolated home in New Zealand.
As they stopped under a shady awning, a tall colored woman came down the steps of the verandah to meet them.
"Meet the missus Hawk. Colleen this is the Colonel."
"You are welcome to our home Colonel." The woman had a warm smile and a firm handgrip.
"It's my pleasure entirely. I hope I’m not an inconvenience."
Hawkspurr regarded MacDonald's wife with interest - he knew that her father had been an Irish soldier of fortune, and her mother a Zulu. After their marriage, they had been forced to flee from South Africa to escape persecution, where Colleen had been born in the more tolerant society of Kenya.
The handsome woman returned his frank appraisal with a level look of her own. Her light, coffee colored features were almost European, but the dark intense eyes and the natural wave of her black, fashionably cut hair betrayed her African heritage.
"You can never be that Colonel, Billy regards you with an affection reserved only for the brother he never had. Please come in, I have a meal ready for you."
Over a meal of Gazelle steak with salad, MacDonald told his wife about the operation to kidnap the French terrorist. Colleen gave her full support to the concept, and offered to help in any way she could.
Hawkspurr promised to consider her proposal, thinking that there could well be a role for her during the escape from France.
"But what about your ties here, and your family?" He asked.
"No family Colonel, Billy and I are alone." She looked sadly into the past. "I would have loved children but after considering my own experience, and the treatment handed out to half-casts, we decided it just wouldn't be fair to any child."
"I am sorry," Hawkspurr was sympathetic "but I think your decision was both wise, and unselfish."
"Well let's not waste any time Hawk." MacDonald stood up. "I think we should leave for the bush camp straight after lunch. Gati'll be returning from Nairobi on the train as far as Rongai."
“He'll cadge a lift from there, and his wife will send him on to us."
"That sounds good to me," agreed Hawkspurr "is there somewhere I can change please?"
When Hawkspurr emerged from the guest room, MacDonald called him into his armory. The hunter had also changed into his bush gear, and invited Hawkspurr to choose a suitable weapon.
From a wide selection in the steel cabinet, Hawkspurr picked out a .30 caliber, M1 carbine. "Something light and familiar. Thanks."
"Still you're favorite weapon, eh Hawk?"
"Yes," agreed Hawkspurr "it’s reliable if not high tech."
"Better grab a Panga too." MacDonald advised.
Hawkspurr took a jungle machete from another rack and clipped the sheath to his belt. "Right. All I need now is ammo."
MacDonald unlocked a drawer. "Help yourself. You'll find a spare magazine in here too."
Colleen entered the room, looking very smart in khaki slacks and bush jacket, even her felt hat looked stylish. "Hand me a pistol please Billy." She requested.
Hawkspurr's face obviously showed his surprise, as she checked the 9mm Browning expertly and stowed it in a holster at her waist.
"Are you joining us Colleen?"
MacDonald answered for his wife. "You're looking at the cabaret old son. Got to amuse the paying customers after dinner." He snorted his dry laugh. "You're in for a treat! Let's go." MacDonald hefted a huge elephant gun under his arm, and carefully locked the gunroom.
At the gates Colleen gave her instructions to Gati's wife, and the small party drove off heading northwest along a dirt road. Later, they crossed a river flowing into Lake Hannington and started the climb into the Aberdare Range.
Passing through the forest fringe, they encountered a wide belt of coniferous and indigenous trees, and here MacDonald stopped the vehicle at a native hut built of slab walls with a thatch roof.
"Nkulu!" He called, and in response an elderly Kikuyu emerged wrapped in a blanket.
The two conversed in Swahili for a while, and a sum of money was passed to the old man.
"Nkulu will keep an eye on the Rover, and if any strangers come poking around he'll send one of his sons out to warn us."
MacDonald locked the doors and padlocked the cage of the vehicle. "From here on we walk. There are still some old tracks bulldozed through the forest during the emergency in `53, but if you want to see any wildlife you hoof it." MacDonald strode away, followed by Colleen with Hawkspurr in the rear.
Hawkspurr found the climate reasonably temperate, without the humidity of the coastal regions. All the same, he had to make an effort to keep pace with MacDonald and Colleen, and was thankful for his routine daily walk in the hills of Central Otago.
The forest here was extremely thick and dark with many streams and as MacDonald informed him contained large numbers of animals, on their journey today however, Hawkspurr saw only monkeys and a single hog.
Where the region gradually changed into thickets of bushes and open sky, they reached MacDonald's safari camp. Sturdy shambas of log slabs and bamboo with shingle roofing were grouped around a central kitchen and mess hut. This structure was completely open under its roof of thatch, although cupboards of tin sheet protected food supplies.
Bamboo pipes carried water directly to the cooking area from an adjacent stream, and ablutions were carried out further downstream.
"Nice set up," remarked Hawkspurr, "not unlike a Mau Mau camp."
"Hardly surprising mate," replied MacDonald "meet Mboya and Ereng, former opponents of ours."
Hawkspurr cautiously acknowledged the greeting from two middle aged Kikuyu.
"Don't sweat it Hawk. They've been with me for twenty years."
"Yes," nodded Hawkspurr, "sometimes I forget how long it's been, and how bloody old we are."
After washing himself and his old jungle greens in the stream, Hawkspurr changed into dry slacks and shirt and a pair of tennis shoes. MacDonald had advised him to bring a sweater, and as dusk was gathering quickly, he pulled that on too.
He was introduced to the six members of MacDonald's safari group over cocktails - Sundowners as MacDonald called them. The party comprised two middle aged Americans with their wives, and a young Japanese honeymoon couple. All wore cameras and accessories about their bodies like alien appendages.
They were not a particularly sociable party, and the Americans sat alone at dinner whilst the newly weds, understandably chose to dine in isolation. Billy, Colleen and Hawkspurr occupied one of the rough cut wooden tables together.
Mboya and Ereng cooked and served a superb meal of steamed fish, curried chicken livers, and a pork vindaloo. Colleen explained that Indian cooking was very popular in the country.
There were vegetables in abundance and fresh lettuce, tomatoes and fruit that MacDonald had carried in with them.
Colleen produced a case of Hardys' Nottage Hill claret from her Australian stock, and a bottle of very decent South African brandy. She smiled indulgently at her husband. "I think as this is a special occasion, you and Nyles deserve to let your hair down tonight. You can sweat it out tomorrow."
She moved to the other tables and placed wine for them. "Help yourselves please." She smiled sweetly at them, and thought to herself miserable buggers. She had learnt the language of her husband well!
When darkness fell completely the servants stoked up the huge log fire in the center of the clearing, and moved benches out from the mess hut.
By this time Hawkspurr and MacDonald had consumed a bottle of wine each, and started on the brandy, and Colleen had disappeared into her hut. The guests gathered around the fire and thanks to MacDonald's many trips to their tables to top up glasses, the wine had mellowed them somewhat,
"Now to stir the bastards up." MacDonald slurred. He gave a signal to the Kenyans, and they squatted at the edge of the firelight with a drum each.
Mboya switched on a tape recorder, and the pulsing, musical strains from the heart of Africa filled the night air. The drums throbbed, and a movement in the half-light of the clearing focused every eye.
A tall glistening figure with oiled naked breasts and limbs mesmerized the group as it emerged from a hut and glided towards the fire.
Colleen's five feet ten inches of lissome, supple body swayed into the revealing illumination of flickering red and orange flames.
Hawkspurr let out an audible gasp, and MacDonald elbowed him in the ribs. "What did I tell you sport?"
The Japanese bridegroom muttered "Hiii!" and his wife covered her mouth to restrain any comment.
The American men were strangely silent.
The beat of the drums increased to a more insistent tempo, and Colleen responded to the tempo with half closed eyes, and a savage gyration of her pelvis. She was clad only in a kirtle of lion skin that barely covered her loins, tufts of lion mane and bangles decorated her ankles, and golden bracelets on her arms chimed to the rhythm of the ancient melody.
Her unfettered breasts bounced in their glorious freedom, and the firelight flickered over her shimmering thighs in sensual delight. Crowning her stately head, colored ostrich plumes nodded and dipped in unison with her every movement.
The hypnotic thrumming of the drum quickened and Colleen began to stamp her feet, gathering a furious momentum, whirling and screaming the battle cries of her warrior ancestors.
Hawkspurr was visibly shaken. `Thank god she doesn't have an assegai in her hands.' He thought.
As the uninhibited dance progressed, Hawkspurr's own senses pulsed, and a primeval urge to join the woman seized him. He controlled himself with an effort, digging his fingernails sharply into the palms of his hands.
He was spared further torment when Colleen fell to her knees in front of her husband - thighs spread wide, arms held forward in supplication and her sweating torso heaving in emotional abandon.
The staid Americans cheered, the reserved Japanese clapped, and Hawkspurr reached out to take Colleen's hand and kiss it.
MacDonald passed out.
MacDonald awoke Hawkspurr soon after dawn. "C'mon Hawk drop your cock and grab your sock. Gati's here, and it looks like trouble."
"You're disgusting Billy. How come you look so good?" Moaned Hawkspurr.
Clean living old son. C'mon, get this down you." He handed Hawkspurr a mug of coffee laced with brandy. "Sorry there's no rum."
"Bless you my child." Hawkspurr gratefully gulped down the drink.
"Gati! Get your black ass in here."
In response to the bellowed order from MacDonald, the grinning Kikuyu entered the shamba carrying a bucket of cold water. "The Colonel might like to wash first." He said.
"Thank you Gati. Your master is a savage."
"Yes Abandi."
Hawkspurr ducked his head in the cold water. "Right. Now tell me what's happening."
Gati spoke. "I followed the two Embu to an office in the city." He paused and produced a piece of grubby paper from a pocket. "A. Borrel, Importers of Fine French Glassware." He read.
"After a time, they left the building with a white man, carrying a heavy case and then drove away in a jeep heading this way. I came as quickly as I could."
"Thank you again Gati. You've done well, go and get some breakfast." Hawkspurr looked at MacDonald. "What do you think?"
"I think the bastards are armed and coming to get you, but don't worry they have to come past Nkulu's place, and he'll warn us. I suggest we set an ambush of our own."
"I agree, but I don't want any shooting." Hawkspurr said. "If we can disarm them and you hold them somewhere until I'm clear it will save a lot of enquiries."
"I'd rather bury the bastards in the bush." Replied MacDonald.
"No doubt. But your guests are going to talk about any gunfire they hear. We'll do it my way."
During breakfast, panting Kikuyu boy ran into the camp and spoke urgently to Gati. The former corporal immediately went to MacDonald and whispered a message to him.
"Time to move Hawk. Colleen and Mboya will get the shutterbugs away to the north. Mboya has promised them a rhino today."
MacDonald left the table to organize the safari, and Hawkspurr went to his hut to prepare for the ambush. He checked his carbine and magazines in case it came to shooting, and then applied a good coating of insect repellent to his exposed skin. He didn’t want to be twitching about once they were concealed in the bush.
Outside, MacDonald and Gati were waiting for him. Gati had fashioned three stout clubs, and had a quantity of rope lengths to tie the prisoners with. Hawkspurr noted that he was also carrying a very sharp, stabbing spear.
"Look Gati," remarked Hawkspurr, "you don't have to be involved in this. It's not your concern."
"Please Colonel. It is many years since I cracked a skull!" For emphasis, the ex Kings African rifleman slammed a club into his palm.
Hawkspurr laughed. "You're as bad as Evil Billy."
He looked at MacDonald. "You sure you're up to this?"
"Get stuffed!"
Gati led the way followed by Hawkspurr with MacDonald as tail end Charlie. They avoided the well-trodden trail of the tourists, and followed narrow ill-defined paths formed by honey collectors or animals. Only Murigo – the local jungle guides, knew of these hidden tracks.
Sharp leaves and the points of new growth made the going uncomfortable, but apart from the risk of a charging rhino they were secure from human intervention.
Hawkspurr recalled that the Mau Mau used to call the Rhino their Home Guard. The beasts were accustomed to their presence and scent and regarded them as another species of jungle animal. The security forces on the other hand smelled of soap, cigarettes, and laundered clothes, and they were greeted with grunts of annoyance, and sometimes an angry charge.
The bush wise Gati decided that they had traveled far enough, and signaled that they should move down to the track that he assumed the French agents would be following.
Hawkspurr and MacDonald crouched down in the shelter of a large tree trunk, and quietly moved aside the creepers and vines that might impede their attack.
Gati examined the path, and confirmed that only the Kikuyu boy had passed that morning. They settled down to wait.
MacDonald whispered in Hawkspurr's ear. "Wish I had a quid for every hour we spent doing this in the past."
"Shut up." Was Hawkspurr's reply. He felt the old, nervous anticipation of ambush in his gut, and wiped sweating palms on his trousers. His intent gaze never left the track.
MacDonald belched and grinned. "Sorry Hawk."
"Just don't fart." Whispered Hawkspurr. "They'll smell it in Nairobi!"
Fifteen minutes later, Gati hissed a warning through his teeth.
Into sight came a solitary Embu, one of the ethnic tribes related to the Kikuyu. He was moving cautiously and carrying an AK.47 assault rifle. The three let him pass and remained still, maintaining a watch on the track to the south.
As the scout passed from sight, Hawkspurr signaled to Gati. "Go get him."
Gati disappeared silently into the bush after the Embu.
A movement down the track, and Hawkspurr swiveled his eyes to MacDonald without moving his head.
MacDonald blinked in understanding.
Two men, one black holding a spear, and a white man with a small automatic pistol extended - possible a Walther P-38, came into view.
Hawkspurr felt his gut bunch up as the Embu passed his position. He was MacDonald's target.
The European followed four meters behind.
Hawkspurr held his breath as the man reached him. Was his instinct warning him that all was not well? The face and eyes twitched nervously and the fair hair was plastered untidily in sweat soaked strands, the very fact that he carried his weapon out at arms length betrayed his apprehension.
As the European passed him, Hawkspurr nodded sharply as a signal to MacDonald and the pair leapt from hiding simultaneously. Hawkspurr brought his club down on the man's gun wrist with such savagery, that he heard the bone crack. Reversing the swing of his weapon he brought it up to connect under the man's chin, and as the Frenchman staggered back with a look of horror on his features Hawkspurr delivered a final blow to the right temple. His victim fell to his knees and toppled forward into the dirt with a soft cry.
MacDonald had felled his victim with a single blow to the back of the neck, and the man dropped without a sound. He wrenched the spear from the man's clenched fist, and flinging it far into the bush turned to check on Hawkspurr.
Hawkspurr retrieved his victim's fallen pistol, and placed it in his back pocket. Taking a cord he bound the unconscious man's damaged arm to the back of his belt. "I'll take care of your wrist when you wake up." He muttered. As an after thought, he fashioned a hobble between the man's ankles binding them 30cm apart. `I've been kicked in the balls before' he thought.
Hawkspurr collected his carbine and MacDonald's rifle from behind the tree, and walked to where the hunter was busy trussing up the Embu.
"That was fun." He grinned without humor. "I wonder how Gati's going?"
"See for yourself." Laughed MacDonald as a triumphant Gati appeared pushing a protesting Embu before him. The big Kikuyu gave his prisoner a jab in the kidneys with the captured AK47. "Down on your knees Embu dog, and maybe the Colonel will spare your miserable life."
"Well done lads. Let's get back to camp. I'm sure Colleen is worried bout you Billy."
"Yes." MacDonald agreed. "I'll send Gati ahead to let her know we're Ok." He looked down at his captive who had started to display signs of life. "These jokers can carry their boss, I don't think they're in any condition to cause trouble."
Gati trotted off ahead, with instructions for Colleen to keep the clients out of camp as long as possible.
Back in base, Ereng took charge of the prisoners and strapped the European's broken wrist.
The man regained consciousness during the first aid, and started to curse softly in French but Hawkspurr ignored the tirade. "Give them water, and put them into an empty shamba." He ordered.
"When do your safari guests leave Billy?"
"Two more days in the forest, then we fly them to Nairobi."
"That's good. I'll be clear by then." Hawkspurr looked around the camp. "I suggest we take our uninvited guests a good kilometer into the bush, and hold them there until everyone's departed. Gati can keep an eye on them and feed them, and when the time is right untie the bastards and let them find their own way out. I'm sure there's nothing to be gained from interrogating the Frenchman, he's only a local stooge."
"Roger, that'll work. Ereng can move them out now, I'll give him the AK.47 and we'll rope them neck to neck."
Ereng moved off cheerfully with his gang of hobbled prisoners, and MacDonald called after the Kikuyu. "Don't leave them until Gati relieves you." He looked at Hawkspurr. "What now Cobber?"
"I think that I had better be moving on. Sorry I can't say goodbye to Colleen, but give her this little pistol as a memento, and tell her she's welcome to join us for the party if she wants to."
Hawkspurr handed the Frenchman's Walther to MacDonald.

CHAPTER TEN - Coming soon...

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